Recent research that suggests human culture may have had a profound effect on shaping our DNA will be the topic of the Collegium da Vinci’s 2009 Darwin’s Evolving Legacy Public Lecture. Robert Moyzis, professor of biological chemistry at the University of California-Irvine, will address the question, “Are Humans Still Evolving?” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center.
Moyzis’ work focuses on human DNA, particularly the tips of human chromosomes, known as telomeres. His mapping of these areas as part of the Human Genome Project revealed that these telomeres – previously thought to be “junk DNA” – contain active sequences that may play important roles in cancer and aging. His most recent research suggests that as much as 10 percent of the human genome is still evolving and that the process may actually have accelerated during the past several thousand years.
In 1993, Moyzis won the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science for “distinguished contributions to the field of molecular genetics,” citing research that “point[s] to the existence of a new type of DNA code that is ‘structural’ in nature and is shared by the DNA of many other organisms.”
The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Collegium da Vinci office, 214-768-1177.