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News & Events

Here you will find the latest news and events from BiRC.

News

DNA of Icelanders provides new knowledge about extinct human species. Graphics: Astrid Reitzel, AU

2020.04.23 | Research news

Icelandic DNA jigsaw-puzzle brings new knowledge about Neanderthals

An international team of researchers has put together a new image of Neanderthals based on the genes Neanderthals left in the DNA of modern humans when they had children with them about 50,000 years ago. The researchers found the new pieces of the puzzle by trawling the genomes of more than 27,000 Icelanders.

As humans have evolved, those who possess beneficial traits (e.g., are stronger or more intelligent) have been more likely to reproduce, and therefore their genes are more likely to be passed to future generations. This phenomenon is referred to as natural selection. One way to measure the impact of selection is via the parameter alpha; lower alpha implies more selection. The above figure reports estimates of alpha for 14 complex traits, obtained using Doug's new tool. We see strongest evidence for selection for height (often considered a proxy for strength) and college education (a proxy for intelligence).

2020.03.25 | Research news

Evaluating and Improving Heritability Models using Summary Statistics

BiRC member Doug Speed, in collaboration with David Balding and John Holmes (University of Melbourne), has recently developed a new tool that improves our understanding of the genetic factors underlying complex traits. Details of the tool have been published this week in the journal Nature Genetics.

2020.02.06 | Research news

Unprecedented exploration generates most comprehensive map of cancer genomes charted to date

Pan-Cancer Project discovers causes of previously unexplained cancers, pinpoints cancer-causing events and zeroes in on mechanisms of development.

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