California Academy of Sciences lecture series. Dr. Holly Dunsworth can be found at her University of Rhode Island faculty page - or at her blog, The Mermaid's Tale.
Dr. Holly Dunsworth - Your Genome is Showing: Human Origins Gets Personal
Dr. Holly Dunsworth explains how your genome is showing, and she explores why human origins is getting personal. First we glimpsed our reflected faces, then our cells in microscopes, then our bodies in photographs, and then our bones in x-rays. Now we can see inside our genomes to find things like earwax alleles, Parkinson's disease risk, warfarin response risk, ancient maternal haplogroups, and even Neanderthal genes. But personal genomics isn't just high-tech navel-gazing; it's a powerful tool for grasping human evolutionary biology. Once the technology becomes good enough and the price comes down far enough nearly everyone will have access to this high-resolution fascination with ourselves, our origins, and our evolution. As it enters the mainstream, personal genomics conjures intriguing new questions about its potential impact on our species, like, how will it change public perception of the science of human evolution and humanity's place in nature? How will it affect personal identities and species perspectives? How will it shape conceptions of our future evolution?
~ Dr. Holly Dunsworth is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Rhode Island. A Leakey Foundation Grantee, she co-directs survey and excavation at the early Miocene primate sites on Rusinga Island, Kenya with an aim at reconstructing the habitats and paleoenvironments of the early hominoid Proconsul. Her other research considers the energetic throughput of zoo apes and as well as the metabolic restrictions on primate reproduction, with a focus on testing the "obstetrical dilemma" hypothesis for hominin evolution.
Dr. Dunsworth posts original classroom activities, teacher resources, and her analyses of current events in human evolutionary sciences on her award winning blog, The Mermaid's Tale. There she strives to overturn misconceptions about, and cultural barriers to, understanding human evolution.