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Bird evolution: from dinosaurs to DNA

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Scott Edwards- Marker Lecturer Harvard University
04 October 2019 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
100 Life Sciences Bldg, Berg Auditorium
Dept of Biology
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Birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs.  This theory, based almost entirely on the size and shape of fossilized bones, is now the view shared by most scientists.  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 reveals how bird genomes reflect their streamlined and high-energy lifestyles, epitomized by their ability to fly. Deciphering the language of DNA reveals the origin of birds’ unique traits, such as feathers, song, and varied lifestyles, and provides clues to their stunning diversity and survival in the face of global environmental change.