The inauguration of the Center for Palaeogenetics

Who would we invite?

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-If you could pick anyone to come and give a seminar on the inauguration, who would you ask?

-I would ask Ludovic Orlando to give an introduction  to the field, no one knows the last decade as he does.

-And Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, few proper archaeologists have worked with archaeogenetecists the way she has, she would be able to reflect upon multidisciplinary science like no one else.

-And when I try to think about who would be able to describe non-academic use of ancient DNA, Tom Parsons is the best one I can think of.

-Mmm, and also someone who is good with popular science, and used to describe our line of work to a general public. That would of course be Adam Rutherford.

-But we would need to describe our own work as well, not just invite people to talk about others work. This setting is a little human-heavy, in a context like this we could for example ask Edana Lord and Marianne Dehasque to say something about their work on megafaunal genomics.

Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson from UU

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We asked, and they all agreed, and all of a sudden we had the components for a perfect inauguration symposium! Astrid Söderbergh Widding (president at Stockholm University) and Joakim Malmström (Director General of the Swedish Museum of Natural History) opened the inauguration day, and thereafter followed a mix of presentations that, as far as I see it, could not have been better. Ludovic Orlando from Toulouse took us from the first Neandertal sequence in 1997 all the way in to the laboratories at CPG. Thereafter Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson from Uppsala University used a few case studies to identify the challenges and the rewards when doing proper multidisciplinary archaeogenetic research. Marianne Dehasque and Edana Lord guided us through the world of mammoth and woolly rhino genomics. Where after Thomas Parsons from ICMP gave a serious and very good presentation on how they have applied aDNA-like techniques to various cases. One of the examples was how they were able to identify some 7000 victims from the Srebrenica massacre using forensic genetics (which in all essentials is a type of aDNA). And finally Adam Rutherford from London reflected upon particulars such as genetic self-testing, evolution in general, and genealogies. And here I should mention that especially Erik Ersmark put in a lot of work to make it happen. It was a great day, I cannot think of anything I would have wanted different for the inauguration of CPG.

Thomas Parsons from ICMP

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