Newswise — New York University will host Leif Andersson, a scientist at Sweden’s Uppsala University, for “How Darwin’s Finches and Atlantic Herring Genetically Adapt to Their Environment,” its annual Darwin Lecture, on Friday, March 22, 4 p.m., at NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology Auditorium (12 Waverly Place, betw. Greene and Mercer Sts.). 

New methods for sequencing DNA have made it possible to study the genetics of any species on earth. Andersson will present how to use these techniques to examine how species evolve and genetically adapt to their environment.

One development concerns what Andersson and his colleagues have learned from studying the iconic Darwin’s finches—the birds, also known as the Galápagos finches, were the inspiration for Darwin's pioneering work on evolution and provide a model for the evolution of biodiversity on earth. Andersson will explain how they discovered some of the genes that contribute to variation in size and shape of the beaks, which allowed these birds to utilize different food sources. 

The second example concerns the Atlantic herring, one of the most abundant vertebrates on earth and a species that has been a critical food resource in Northern Europe. The Atlantic herring is one of the few marine fish that has been able to colonize the Baltic Sea. Andersson and his group have revealed the genetic changes that allowed the herring to not only survive in low-salt water, but also to reach a population size of about 90 billion in this environment.       

The talk will be introduced by NYU’s Dean for Science Michael Purugganan and NYU Biology Professor David Fitch. 

The lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, email or call 212.998.8209. Subways: R, W [8th St.], 6 [Astor Pl.] 


New York University’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology The Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, housed in a cutting-edge 62,000 square foot “hub of science,” is at the heart of NYU’s Washington Square campus. Beyond its historic Greenwich Village facade are open and interconnected state-of-the-art “loft laboratories” where scientists, including professors, researchers, and students of NYU’s Department of Biology, interact to leverage potential of genomics and systems biology in research and education. These endeavors involve the combined skills of genomic, computational, and evolutionary biologists, who collaborate with schools and departments across the university, as well as with researchers from other major institutions in New York City and around the world. For more, go to:

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