Deep Ancestry – The Journey of Man

Dr Ian McFarlane:  ISCAST (NSW) / CASE Meeting
Date: 23 August, 2010
Venue: Main Meeting Room, New College, NSW

ISCAST (NSW) – CASE  Lecture: Monday, August 23, 2010, 7.30 pm;

Main Meeting Room, New College, The University of NSW

Dr Ian McFarlane: Deep Ancestry – The Journey of Man: Tracing the genetic journey of human beings from mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA studies
He is formerly of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW.

Abstract: The ability to isolate, purify, amplify and determine the coding sequence of even small amounts of DNA from a variety of sources has led to an explosion of applications in forensics, medical genetics, biological classification and diversity, palaeontology, genealogy and population studies.  In particular, the last 10 years has seen the production of print and video medium for popular consumption that has generated enormous interest in human population studies.  This largely began with the concept of ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ and the subsequent publication of Bryan Sykes book ‘The Seven Daughters of Eve’ in 2001.  Extensive DNA sampling of human groups in defined geographical areas from around the world has led, in conjunction with evidence from archaeology, climatology and fossil studies, to some remarkable conclusions about modern human origins.  Much of the genetic data has come from studies on mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA.  In this presentation I propose to talk about how the data is generated, why it is useful and how it has made contributions to answering questions about human origins, human migration to colonise an “empty” planet, the time scale of these events, kinship within our species, and relatedness to our closest animal relatives, including Neanderthal Man.  What should we understand from the concepts of ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ and Y-chromosome Adam’?  How might they relate to Biblical Adam and Eve?


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