Ancient DNA: Bones in the light of molecular evolution

( TCD Genetics Society )

Location: Room LTEE3, Trinity College Dublin

( Lecture Theatre 3, Panoz Institute, East End )

Audience: All

Date: Tuesday 7th April 2009 4 pm

Contact: TCD Genetics Society: gensec@tcd.ie

TCD Genetics Society second Darwin 200 lecture will be held 7th April at 4pm in LTEE3. The speaker is Michael Hofreiter from Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology.

He will be giving a talk entitled:
Ancient DNA: Bones in the light of molecular evolution

The fossil record has played a key role in Darwin’s formulation of the theory of evolution, and it has remained important for evolutionary research during the last 150 years. 25 years ago, researchers started to explore how genetic studies can be applied to fossil specimens by investigating what was soon termed ancient DNA. The last few years have seen enormous progress in the investigation of fossil DNA. This has included phylogenetic studies, population and functional genetics, and most recently, the sequencing of complete genomes from extinct organisms. This presentation will focus on those fields that have helped bolster the theory of evolution and helped us understand how evolutionary changes come about. The speaker will show how phylogenetic studies including extinct species can help revealing times of rapid speciation. Similarly, population genetic studies using time-structured DNA sequence data obtained from fossil specimens can directly trace changes in DNA sequences and thereby elucidate population size changes over tens of thousands of years. More recently, scientists have started to investigate the genomic changes that differentiate extinct species and their extant relatives. Such studies have revealed intriguing results, such as evidence for parallel evolution of red hair and pale skin in Neanderthals and modern humans.

There will be a wine reception after the lecture and this lecture will be the final activity for the 2009-2009 GenSoc committee.

For directions consult http://www.tcd.ie/Maps/map.php