Spring Lecture Series 2022 Detail

A Retrospective View on Plant Genetic Diversity Using Ancient DNA by Prof. Hernán A. Burbano

– Part of the CDA Spring Lecture Series.


Speaker: Hernán A. Burbano

Associate Professor of Ancient Plant Genomics, Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution, Department of Genetics Evolution and Environment, University College London (UK)

On Zoom



Ancient DNA – hosted by Prof. Brande Wulff.



Anthropogenic effects on ecosystems shape plants’ phenotypes and genetic diversity. Tracing these changes over time is key to understand their consequences on plants’ adaptability to a changing environment. Ancient DNA permits characterizing ancient genomes, refine demographic models, and gauge the role of natural selection in plant phenotypes over time. I will present a description of the biochemical characteristics of DNA retrieved from historical and ancient specimens and show the temporal patterns of DNA damage and decay kinetics in herbaria specimens Afterwards, I will present some examples of the post-domestication dispersal and adaptation of crops in historical and ancient times. 

About the speaker

Hernán Burbano obtained his PhD in evolutionary genetics in 2012 from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where his doctoral work on archaic hominins was supervised by Svante Pääbo. Burbano was a Postdoc at the MPI for Developmental Biology (Tuebingen, Germany) under the supervision of Detlef Weigel. There, he integrated plant evolutionary genomics and ancient DNA and started his own research group in 2014, before joining the University College London as an Associate Professor in 2019. Burbano was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship in 2019 and a Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding contributions to Biological Sciences in 2020.

Event Quick Information

03 Mar, 2022
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM