How did cats evolve?

The Cat: evolution, domestication and Genome 10k | A public lecture by Dr Stephen J O'Brien at the UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland. 18 September 2013. Dr O'Brien is a world leading molecular biologist and dedicated conservationist who uses the tools of molecular biology to help protect endangered species and understand devastating diseases such as cancer and AIDS. He received his PhD in Genetics from Cornell University, USA, in 1971. He then joined the prestigious National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health as a post-doc in 1971 and, there, served as Founder and Chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity from 1986-2011. In December 2011, he joined the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, as Chief Scientific Officer. Convinced of the utility of exploring diverse species to advance our understanding of the human genome, Dr O'Brien and his team have assembled over 62,000 animal and 424,000 human tissue/DNA specimens, facilitating wide-ranging studies of disease gene associations, species adaptation and natural history. His research interests and expertise span human and comparative genomics, genetic epidemiology, HIV/AIDS, retro-virology, bioinformatics biodiversity and species conservation. Dr O'Brien is best known for documenting the remarkable genetic uniformity of African cheetahs, resolving the mammalian tree of life, describing heretofore unrecognized species of Orangutans, African forest elephants, and Bornean clouded leopards. He is credited with the discovery of CCR5 delta 32, the first of 20 human AIDS restriction genes, which imparts natural immunity to HIV. He is the one of the founders of the Genome 10K initiative, has published over 750 leading research papers, written multiple books and is adjunct professor in over 12 international leading universities. The UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, is a multidisciplinary research and education centre with a focus on creating and sharing new knowledge. We aim to contribute to sustainable solutions for many of the pressing Earth-related problems affecting societies now and in the near future.

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