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Me, My Dog and Maize AUCKLAND

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23 Symonds Street

Rm GO50, Science Centre

University of Auckland

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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Me, My Dog and Maize

Studying evolution and domestication at the population level using ancient DNA

Professor Tom Gilbert, Natural History Museum of Denmark

In Darwin's day, tracking the process of biological evolution was limited to studying changes and differences in the physical forms of fossils and living species. For nearly 40 years now, these studies have been supplemented, increasingly powerfully, by DNA analyses. From comparisons of just a few key DNA sequences, DNA technology itself has evolved to now allow evolutionary biologists to compare the entire genomes (all of an organism’s DNA) of species.

In recent years, researchers have begun to integrate DNA from historic and even ancient specimens into such genomic analyses, following the realization that while analyzing modern samples can tell us about the end point of evolutionary processes, inclusion of samples from the past can literally provide insight into the changes as they happened.

We are now seeing the dawn of an era in which population level genomic analyses of ancient and present day populations are possible. I will explore the power of such approaches in this talk using human, dog and maize evolution as examples.

About Professor Tom Gilbert

Tom is visiting New Zealand as a guest of Allan Wilson at Otago, with the support of the Genetics Society of Australasia and Genetics Otago. He is an ancient DNA expert who has focused on a broad range of evolutionary questions including humans and domesticated plants and animals. He has also studied the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1850s, and which is related to Kauri dieback disease.

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23 Symonds Street

Rm GO50, Science Centre

University of Auckland

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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