molecular evolution from a paleo perspective
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Exciting and noteworthy goings-on

June 2020:
Aisa Vershinina, who successfully defended her PhD thesis in early June, spoke at the Yukon Beringia Interpetive Center in Whitehorse, Yukon (although virtually, because of the pandemic) about her research studying the history of horse evolution in North America. Her talk, which was absolutely brilliant, is available here. And you can read more about here results in this brief summary.

Image courtesy of Sandi Sisti, Wild at Heart Images

APRIL 2018:
Grad student Sabrina Shirazi led a succesful BioBlitz in the Younger Lagoon reserve this weekend, which you can read all about here. This weekend's BioBlitz is part of CALeDNA, a collaboration that originated as part of the UC Conservation Genomics Consortium, and is now funded with support from the HHMI Professors Program. Stay tuned for more information about future BioBlitzes, and for details of eSIE, our new eDNA-based undergraduate research and education program, with new classes to launch in Fall 2018.

Our newest paper discusses the interplay between a weird recombination landscape and an even weirder exceptionally large population in shaping the landscape of natural selection across the genome of the extinct passenger pigeon. Read the paper here, and check out some of the awesome news coverage, such as these two from NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce, this from Steph Yin of the NYTimes, and this from Joel Achenback of the Washington Post.

Nevé Baker has joined our lab as a new graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Nevé is interested in marine mammals, conservation, and ancient DNA. Welcome, Nevé!

APRIL 2017:
Our work on St Paul Island, Alsaka, in which our amazing interdisciplinary team figured out exacly when and why mammoths disappeared from this small island (the second last surviving population of mammoths) won the 2017 Cozzarelli Prize from PNAS, for "outstangind scientific excellence and originality"! Russ Graham from PNAS attended the PNAS editorial board meeting in Wasthington D.C. to receive the prize. For more information about this project, check out this great feature in Discover about our project!

MARCH 2017:
Beth Shapiro was among the panelists participating in the 2017 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate at the American Musem of Natural History in New York!

MARCH 2017:
Our latest paper revises the timing of the "Rancholabrean Land Mammal Age" by confirming that bison did not colonize North America from Asia until around 160,000 years ago. Also, the insanely large Bison latifrons is genetically similar... VERY similar... to the much smaller extinct steppe bison. News stories from GenomeWeb and the Billings Gazette!

JULY 2016:
Our latest paper estimates the timing of the opening of the "ice free corridor" in the North American midcontinent using ancient bison DNA. And is featured on the cover of this month's PNAS:

JULY 2016:
Time to celebrate! Wishing those leaving good luck with their next advanture, and welcoming everyone joining for the new academic year. (Ed is, atypically, outside on the phone.)

JULY 2016:
We're back from our 20-day adventire in Dawson City and cruising the Dempster Highway. Look out for the announcement of our new Arctic Field Experience course for undergradautes here at UCSC!

JUNE 2016:
Check out the awesome new video from Kimim Media, sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that describes some of what we do at the Paleogenomcs Lab:

Ever find two hairs in your soup and wonder if they're from the same person? Now you can find out. Read about our exciting new approach to positive forensics identification using very small amounts of DNA

Check our Pete Heintzman's new blog post about how ancient DNA and paleogenomics can help us to better understand how live evolved and species diverged.

SEPTEMBER 2015: Rrewriting the camel family tree
Pete Heintzman's new paper, Genomic data from extinct North American Camelops revises camel evolutionary history, is the cover article in September's issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution!
Congrats, Pete!

DECEMBER 2014: A Celebration of Avian Genomics!
After years (!) of hard work, today we celebrate the public release of a large compendium of manuscripts focusing on the generation and analysis of more than 50 complete bird genomes, not to mention a few retilian genomes.
Many of the papers (includng Ed's alligator genome paper) were published in a special edition of Science, the cover of which is below. Kudos to Erich Jarvis, Tom Gilbert and Guojie Zhang for leading this huge collaborative effort!
A full list of the papers associated with this consortium can be found here:
And let's not fail to mention some of the press coverage for our alligators, such as these nice articles from UC Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Sentinal, and the Telegraph.

JUNE 2014: Welcome summer REU students!
We'd like to welcome two REU students who will be joining us this summmer: Amy Ortega, from Chapman Univeristy, who will be working with Pete on the modern plants from St Paul, Pribilof Islands, and Carlos Fernando Buen AbadNajar, from UNAM, Mexico, who will be working with Sam and Brendan on top secrete projects (Shhh!).

FEBRUARY 10 2014: Floating gourds
Our recent work about the domestication of bottle gourds (Led by former PhD student Logan Kistler) has been published in PNAS's early edition. We show that bottle gourds floated across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa, and were later domesticated at multiple, independend locations. Read all about it in Science and in Carl ZImmer's blog, The Loom!

NOVEMBER 15 2013: Dogs were domesticated in Europe!
Our work with Bob Wayne at UCLAinvestigating the timing and location of dog domestication was published today in Science. And Carl Zimmer writes about it in his science column at the New York TImes!

JUNE 2013: Wow -- That's an old genome!
A 700,000 year-old horse bone found in the klondike region of Canada's Yukon Territory (our favorite research site) has produced the compete genome sequence of an ancietn horse! The story, published in the hournal Nature is the culmination of a major international collaboration led by Ludovic Orlando at the Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark. PGL members Mathias Stiller, James Cahill, and Beth Shapiro were involved with data production and analysis -- in particular of several complete mitochondrial genomes from other ancient horses. Check out the the paper and some of the press coverage.

JUNE 2013: We bought a MiSeq
And it makes us happy.

MAY 10 2013: Ed Green to speak at CARTA
Ed presented the latest research about Neandertals at the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropolgy in San Diego, CA.

March 15 2013: Beth Shapiro and Ben Novak to speak at TEDxDe-Extinction
The event, held at Natioanal Geographic Society in Washington DC attracted hundreds of interested folks, including policy makers and conservation biologists on both sides of the "should we bring 'em back?" fence. You can check out Beth's talk about bringing back ancient genomes and Ben's talk abou thte plan to resurrect the Passenger Pigeon on The Long Now Foundation's website. Follow the debate on Twitter using #deextinction

MARCH 2013: Congrats to PhD student James Cahill, first author of our super cool (at least we think so) publication about hybridization between brown bears and polar bears on Alaska's ABC Islands.
It turns out that this population of brown bears *used* to be a population of polar bears. These polar bears were gradually been converted into brown bears by generations of backcrossing, as male brown bears colonized the islands from the Alaskan mainland after the last Ice Age. A shout out to our collaborators Flora Jay and Monty Slatkin, for their modeling prowess and helping us to solve the mystery of the differences between D-statistics on the X chromosome and the autosomes, which turned out to be the most important piece of this puzzle. Check out the UCSC press release and some of the press coverage here.

JANUARY 2013: Two new postdocs join the lab!
We welcome Dan Chang, a recent grad from Tom Duda's lab at the University of Michigan, and Pete Heintzman, who joins us after finishing his PhD in Ian Branes' group at Royal Hollowau University of London

NOVEMBER 2012: Liana Lareau joins the lab
Liana Lareau joins us from Pat Brown's lab at Stanford. She'll be working on alligators, among other projects. Welcome!

MAY 2012: First Occupants in the Biomed Building
The UCSC Paleogenomics lab moves into the brand new Biomedical Sciences Building on the UCSC main campus. It's lonely in here, but we're loving it so far. Mathias Stiller is still seeking the most appropriate permanent home for the coffee machine.

JANUARY 2012: We're moving to UC Santa Cruz
The Shapiro Lab is packing up shop to move to California!

MAY 2011: Ed Green is named Searle Scholar for 2011
Ed was selected by the Kinship Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust as one of 15 Searle Scholars for 2011. See all the current Searle Scholars here.

OCTOBER 2010: Beth Shapiro is named Packard Fellow for 2010
Beth was selected by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation as one of the 2010 Packard Fellows. See Packard Fellows here.

JULY 2010: We're off to the Klondike!
Beth Shapiro, Mathias Stiller and Jana Morehouse have left the booming metropolis of State College, PA for the goldfields of the Yukon in search of bones. Follow our adventures @bonesandbugs on Twitter! You can also find us at #bonequest10. Check out our video stream on YouTube.

JUNE 2010: Beth Shapiro is selected as a 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
Beth and 13 others were chosen by National Geographic Society as Emerging Explorers for 2010. For more details, visit the Emerging Explores website

JUNE 2010: Kristine Korzow-Richter receives a Space Grant Fellowship
Kristine was awarded a Graduate Researh Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium!

OCTOBER 2009: Beth Shapiro is named a 2009 MacArthur Fellow
Beth was among 24 individuals named by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation to receive the award in 2009. For more details, visit the 2009 MacArthur Fellows announcement page, or the page highlighting Beth's research.

MAY 2009: Beth Shapiro is named Searle Scholar for 2009
Beth was selected by the Kinship Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust as one of 15 Searle Scholars for 2009. See all the current Searle Scholars here.





Extracting and characterizing DNA from fossil remains.

Using genome-wide and environmentally-derived data to infer population history and inform management decisions

Investigating patterns and processes in genome evolution.