Brian Sykes is currently Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wolfson College. Born in London, he studied at the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol before arriving in Oxford to research the genetic causes of inherited bone diseases. While doing this research, which culminated in the identification of the genes involved in inherited forms of brittle bone disease, he was asked by an archaeologist friend if there was any possibility of finding DNA in ancient human bone. Replying that this was quite impossible, he set to work to prove himself wrong and, two years later, became the first scientist to succeed in recovering DNA from archaelogical bones. This dramatic discovery led to his involvement in a series of high-profile projects such as the genetic identity of Oetzi, the Iceman, the fate of the Romanovs and the extinction of the Neanderthals. In a more general sense his work seeks to connect people both with their ancestors and with each other through their shared DNA. He has used these connections in his research to probe the origins of people in many different parts of the world including the Polynesians and the very first Europeans. More recently, he has researched the surprisingly strong genetic connections between people sharing the same surname. In 2000 he set up Oxford Ancestors, a company part-owned by the University of Oxford, through which people can find out about their own genetic ancestry for themselves.