To be held at the Fundación Ramón Areces, Madrid, the 24th and 25th April, 2007
Tom Gilbert, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Anders Götherström, Centro
Dept. Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
Over 20 years ago the field
of ancient DNA was initiated with the recovery of DNA from mummified
tissue and extinct animals. The field is heavily dependent on molecular
genetic techniques, and experienced a major expansion with the invention
of the polymerase chain reaction in the late 1980s. Over the next decade
the scope of what could be achieved in the field remained relatively
static, due to the limited development of novel molecular techniques
that could be applied to aDNA. However, the last few years have seen
significant advances in the techniques that can be applied to the recovery
of DNA, the analysis of its quality and quantity, and the processing
of the generated genetic data. As a result the field is poised to develop
in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago. For example, it
was considered a major breakthrough when the first and second Neandertal
mitochondrial sequences, consisting of less than 300 nucleotides, appeared
in the scientific press in 1997 and 2000. In late 2006 however, more
than a million nucleotides of Neandertal nuclear DNA were published
in the two leading scientific journals.
Despite the recent advances,
overall the field has seen little synthesis of the techniques, and as
such their power lies unexploited. In response to this, we have identified
what we believe to be some of the key topics related to ancient DNA,
and with this in mind organised a symposium that brings together some
of the key figures that are behind the various developments in order
that they can present the state of the art of the field. In doing so,
we aim to both inspire the current generation of ancient DNA researchers,
as well as to provide a general background to an interested audience.
The speakers have been have
been asked to talk about topics within the following four sessions:
Characterisation of ancient DNA, Data acquisition, Data analysis, and
Frontiers in aDNA.
During the first session the
speakers will present what is understood about the degradation of biomolecules,
and how this knowledge is of relevance, and can be applied, to ancient
DNA. During the second session the speakers will provide an overview
of recent technological advances that are now enabling ancient DNA researchers
to approach topics that were thought impossible only a few years ago.
However, the acquisition of such data is meaningless without the ability
to interpret and analyse it correctly. With this in mind, the speakers
of the third session will focus on some of the tools that have been
developed to achieve this. In the final session, the speakers will describe
some of the major underlying areas where genetic data from prehistoric
specimens is being applied.
Scientific Program (PDF)
The scientific program of the meetings is detailed here and a PDF can be accessed here. The meeting is being funded principally by the Fundación Ramón Areces, with additional support from the Marie Curie Actions GeneTime program. As such, there will be no charge for attendance to the meeting (limited 400 attendees). However, attendance will require formal registration.
Please follow this link to register for the conferece. If you have and queries please contact the organisers (Tom Gilbert or Anders
Götherström) at this email address:
The meeting will be hosted at the auditorium of the Fundación Ramón Areces, located in central Madrid, on la Calle Vitruvio. This facility has seating for 400 attendees, with in seat simultaneous Spanish-English translation.