DNA and Archaeology

Monday 9 October 2017

The discovery in 1989 that small amounts of ‘ancient’ DNA are sometimes preserved in the bones and teeth of skeletons has led to many new developments in archaeology. These include the ability to identify the family relationships between groups of skeletons that are buried together, as well as new ways of investigating diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy in the past.
Ancient DNA has also enabled the genomes of Neanderthals and other types of extinct human to be studied. Neanderthals and members of our own species lived side by side in Europe for 15,000 years until Neanderthals died out about 30,000 years ago. During that period there was interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans, which has resulted in us inheriting some Neanderthal genes, with good and bad impacts on our physiology and health.
Professor Terry Brown has worked on ancient DNA since 1990, first at UMIST and then at the University of Manchester. He has recently completed a project showing that two Egyptian mummies in the Manchester Museum collection were half-brothers, and he has also worked at Mycenae and Vergina in Greece. His presentation will cover all aspects of ancient DNA research including the latest results from studies of the Neanderthal genome.

Talk starts at 6.30pm. All welcome, no charge.

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