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Biodiversity Lecture Series Featuring Beth Shapiro

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Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre

6163 University Boulevard

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Canada

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The Biodiversity Lecture Series is back with Dr. Beth Shapiro's talk: Can (and should?) biotechnology reverse extinction?

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Can (and should?) biotechnology reverse extinction?

Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? Is it possible to clone extinct species using the same or similar technologies that created Dolly the sheep in the 1990s? What are the chances that the science fiction of “Jurassic Park” will someday become science fact?

In this lecture, Beth Shapiro, ancient DNA scientist and author of How to Clone a Mammoth, will discuss the real science behind the emerging idea known as “de-extinction.” From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing and editing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, she will walk through the process of resurrecting extinct species, considering the technical, ethical and ecological challenges of de-extinction as well as its potential benefits.

While she argues that it may never be possible to bring back an identical copy of a species that has gone extinct, de-extinction technology is likely to provide new solutions to revitalize and stabilize contemporary ecosystems, with benefits to the preservation of existing biodiversity.

Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. As Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz and HHMI Investigator, Beth uses DNA recovered from bones and other remains to study how species evolved through time and how human activities have affected and continue to affect this dynamic process.

Her work focuses on organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture, speciation, and pathogen evolution. Her current work develops techniques to recover increasingly trace amounts of DNA such as from environmental and forensic samples.

A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Beth is also an award-winning popular science author and communicator who uses her research as a platform to explore the potential of genomic technologies for conservation and medicine.

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Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre

6163 University Boulevard

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Canada

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