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INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: THE STATE OF THE ART OF ANCIENT DNA

Preliminary advertisement
To be held at the Fundación Ramón Areces, Madrid, the 24th and 25th April, 2007

Registration | Scientific Program | (PDF)

Coordinators

Juan Luis Arsuaga, Centro Mixto UCM-ISCIII de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos, Madrid, Spain

Tom Gilbert, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Anders Götherström, Centro Dept. Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden

Background

GeneTimeOver 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.

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:

madrid.genetime@gmail.com

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.