Ancient DNA – a genetic thread that connects our past and present

Join us for a public lecture by Dr. K Thangaraj, Director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics to understand better the Nobel Prize for Medicine/Physiology 2022 winning work on ancient DNA. You will also hear how ancient DNA research is progressing in India and the mysteries it is solving. The public lecture will be appropriate for students of 11th std and above. Educators, journalists, and the public are also invited.

Abstract of talk: Ancient DNA (aDNA) is an emerging research discipline, which allows us to study DNA extracted from ancient biological remains. The first attempt to extract aDNA was accomplished in 1984, where researchers have reported traces of DNA from an extinct animal species quagga. In the coming decades, aDNA research picked up globally as one of the emerging genetic tools to reconstruct the past population history. It was an important discovery on Neanderthals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-day humans, that shared more genetic variants with present-day humans suggesting gene flow from Neanderthals into our ancestors. Subsequently, a bone was excavated from Denisova Cave at Altai Mountains in Southern Siberia represents an unknown type of hominin that shares a common ancestor with anatomically modern human and Neanderthal about a million years ago. These breakthrough findings bridged the gap between early hominins and human, and won the Nobel Prize (2022) in Physiology or Medicine for Svante Pääbo. The first ever aDNA facility in our country was established in CCMB, and has solved some of the mysteries. My talk would cover both the Nobel Prize winning work of Svante Pääbo and our own work in the field of ancient and contemporary (DNA) genetics that has helped us in understanding the origin and migration of modern human.

Date: 21st Oct 2022

Timing: 3.30 – 5 pm

Venue: CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) auditorium, Hyderabad

Organized by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad