2019 Murray Lecture - Bird evolution: from dinosaurs to DNA

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The Refectory

Holme Building

Science Road

University of Sydney, NSW 2006

Australia

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Bird evolution: from dinosaurs to DNA

The theory shared by most scientists is that birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs - a view based almost entirely on the size and shape of fossilised bones. What is less well known is that the genomes of birds - comprised of over 1 billion DNA letters and thousands of genes - bear traces of their dinosaur ancestry as well. Modern genomics explains how bird genomes reflect their streamlined and high-energy lifestyles, epitomised by their ability to fly. Deciphering the language of DNA reveals the origin of bird’s unique traits, such as feathers and song, providing clues to their stunning diversity and survival in the face of global environmental change.

Presented by Professor Scott Edwards, Harvard University

Professor Scott Edwards is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Professor Edwards is an evolutionary biologist, with diverse interests in molecular evolution, phylogenetics, comparative genomics and population genetics. His research uses birds as model systems, focusing on their evolutionary history and genome evolution, and fieldwork across the globe.


The Murray Lecture is named in honour of Professor Patrick Murray, who was Head of the School of Biological Sciences from 1949 until 1960.

The lectureship was established in 2006 following a bequest from Professor Patrick Murray in late 2005.

The lectureship aims to bring an internationally noted academic to the School of Life and Environmental Sciences to present public lectures, participate in workshops and provide mentoring for postgraduate students.

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Location

The Refectory

Holme Building

Science Road

University of Sydney, NSW 2006

Australia

View Map

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