Center for Computational Biology Seminar: Dr. Beth Shapiro, Professor, UC Santa Cruz

Seminar | February 6 | 4:30-5:30 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 Center for Computational Biology

Genomics, genetic rescue, and the future of conservation

Abstract: New technologies, including complete genome sequencing and genome engineering, promise to revolutionize conservation and slow the pace of the ongoing extinction crisis. However, the value of these technologies to conservation remains unclear. Using mountain lions from across their range and wolves from Isle Royale as examples, I will explore the value of complete genome reconstruction and analysis to conservation and management, focusing on what complete genomes can reveal that traditional genetic approaches cannot. I will also discuss the potential of genomics to inform genetic rescue interventions, and highlight some of the technical, ethical, and environmental hurdles that these particularly controversial technologies still face.

Bio: Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. As Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz and HHMI Investigator, Beth uses DNA recovered from bones and other remains to study how species evolved through time and how human activities have affected and continue to affect this dynamic process. Her work focuses on organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture, speciation, and pathogen evolution. Her current work develops techniques to recover increasingly trace amounts of DNA such as from environmental and forensic samples.

 Light refreshments will be provided at reception from 4:00pm - 4:30pm, 125 LKS foyer.