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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.

Testis data

2020.01.17 | Research news

Single cell sequencing has a potential for disentangling causes of azoospermia

Azoospermia - or the absence of spermatozoa - is one of the causes of infertility, a problem faced by ~15% of couples. Azoospermic testis shows different characteristics and probably causes over different groups of patients. New single cell sequencing technologies allow the study of a tissue cell by cell, but analysis of such complex and big…

2020.01.14 | Research news

Plant genomes reveal the basis for adaptation to contrasting climates

In the face of rapid climate change, it is important that plants can adapt quickly to new conditions to ensure their survival. Using field experiments and plant genome studies, an international research team has pinpointed areas of the genome that are affected during local adaptation to contrasting climates.

2020.01.06 | Research news

New forensic chemistry method to reveal the age of bloodstains and fingerprints

A fingerprint, a bloodstain or other biological material are some of the traces the police search for at a crime scene. With the help of the biological traces, a person or perpetrator can be tied to a crime scene. However, until now it has not been technically possible to determine when a fingerprint or other trace was made and thus determine…

2019.01.23 | Research news

Mennesket udvikler sig ikke længere med samme hast som aberne

Vores evolution går cirka en tredjedel langsommere end hos de andre primater. I et nyt studie har danske forskere nemlig fundet frem til, at mennesket har langt færre DNA-mutationer, end vores nærmeste nulevende slægtninge: De store menneskeaber.

2019.01.22 | Research news

Human mutation rate has slowed recently

Researchers from Aarhus University and Copenhagen Zoo have discovered that the human mutation rate is significantly slower than for our closest primate relatives. The new knowledge may be important for estimates of when the common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees lived - and for conservation of large primates in the wild.

2018.11.12 | Publication

Better estimation of SNP heritability from summary statistics

Nature Genetics, Dec 2018: Doug Speed from BiRC, together with David Balding, University of Melbourne, have created SumHer, a new software for analyzing results from genetic association studies.

2018.04.09 | Awards

Distinguished Investigator Grant of DKK 10 million

Professor Mikkel Heide Schierup, BiRC, has been awarded a Distinguished Investigator Grant of DKK 10 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation for the research project 'The Extraordinary Evolution of Human Sex'.

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