Darwin Day Talk 2018

What: A unique opportunity to hear an expert speak in an accessible manner on what can often be a complex and inaccessible topic

When: Monday February 12th 2018 at 19.30

Where: Robert Emmett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin

Who: Dan Bradley on the European Human Genome

Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12th, is marked among humanists as a celebration of the rational. Darwin’s theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is, some humanists would argue, the greatest idea ever. It shows that organisms can improve in tiny steps by blind evolution without any higher purpose or higher cause. It changed completely humanity’s view of ourselves and establishes humans firmly as part of nature as a whole.

The Humanist Association of Ireland has, for many years, marked the occasion with a public lecture by a distinguished scientist who will bring information and insights about important developments to a general audience.

On February 12th 2018, at the Robert Emmett Theatre at Trinity College, Dan Bradley (Trinity College) will give a talk entitled The Evolution of the European Human Genome: Where Did We Come from?

Our DNA is like a physical chain; a biological code written in a three billion letter text. It is also the result of the chain of ancestry within which each of us is embedded. DNA can be used to test links between those of us alive today and our ancient ancestors. It can be used to look at human evolution as it happened, and test the links of the ancient Irish with other peoples and regions, uncovering the migrations that shaped the peoples of this island and linking ourselves to our heritage on this island and beyond.

As attendees of recent HAI Darwin Day events will attest, these lectures are a rather unique opportunity to hear an expert in a scientific field speak in an accessible manner on what can often be a complex and inaccessible topic to many.

Our speaker for 2018’s event, Dan Bradley, spent his early years on an Irish farm waiting to get away and broaden his horizons. After receiving a degree in genetics from Cambridge University and PhD in medical genetics from Trinity College Dublin, he subsequently started to work on the genetics of each species present on that farm, including Irish humans, and has continued to do so for over 20 years. With his colleagues he has combined analysis of ancient and modern cattle to inform on the origins of these and other domesticates and pioneered the molecular genetic analysis of Irish populations, particularly co-analysis with surnames. Current collaborative research interests include: ancient genomes of domestic animals from bones and parchment; human genetic variation and history including ancient DNA; the genetics of susceptibility to motorneurone disease; and the genetics of infectious disease susceptibility in cattle. He holds a Personal Chair in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin; is a member of the Royal Irish Academy; and is the holder of an ERC Advanced Grant.