A brief history of the Darwin's Birthday Debates organised by CEE. Thanks to Jim Mallet and Sandra Knapp for compiling.
|1809||Charles Robert Darwin born 12 February|
|1992||The "London Evolution Group", forerunner of the CEE, founded. Evolutionary biologists were felt to be scattered across the London area, and should get to know each other better. And have more parties.|
|1993||We had a Darwin's Birthday Party at our house.|
|About here, the Evolution Special Interest Group of the Linnean Society is founded.|
|1994||Derek Briggs & Simon Conway Morris on "Evolution in the Cambrian: Biology's big Bang? Or just a damp squib?" Linnean Society of London, Piccadilly. Both agree that Steven Jay Gould misinterpreted their work.|
|About here, the CEE is founded. Originally to keep Robin Dunbar from leaving UCL for Liverpool. Robin Dunbar goes to Liverpool anyway, money remains; Linda Partridge arrives, becomes director of the CEE.|
|1995||John Maynard Smith & Stuart Kauffman on "Is life at the edge of chaos?" Linnean Society of London, Piccadilly. Friendly disagreement. John Maddox, the editor of Nature, writes leading article "Polite Row about Models...". The Santa Fé Institute also has a write-up about this, "The Great Complexity Debate".|
|1996||Russ Lande & Steve O'Brien on: "Conservation genetics: is it useful?" Linnean Society of London, Piccadilly. Speakers disagree|
|1997||Mild problems with The Linnean Society of London, Piccadilly, and anyway we couldn't think of a subject. We just had a party at our house.|
|1998||Jim Lake & Tom Cavalier Smith: "The Tree of Life." First DBP to be held at the Natural History Museum.|
|1999||Jim Patton & Steve Hubbell: "Why are there so many species in the tropics?" Natural History Museum. Steve Hubbell later (2001) publishes "The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography. Princeton University Press.|
|2000||Peter Holland & Enrico Coen: "Evolution and Development." Natural History Museum.|
|2001||Michael Foote & Blair Hedges: "The Phylogenetic Fuse." Natural History Museum. Organised by Mike Coates and Sandra Knapp. Over supper, Blair Hedges is hit on the head with a toy hammer by supporter of Michael Foote.|
|2002||Camille Parmesan & Brian Huntley. "Evolution and Ecology of Climate Change: Past, Present and Future." Natural History Museum.|
|2003||Chris Stringer and Mark Stoneking. "Origin of our species." Natural History Museum|
|2004||Nick Barton and Mohamed Noor. "Species and the origins of biodiversity." Natural History Museum.|
|2005||Michael Lynch and Michael Ashburner. "Evolution: the genomic view." Natural History Museum.|
|2006||Geoff West and Sean Nee. "Do general laws explain ecology and evolution?" Natural History Museum.|
|2007||Jeremy Jackson and Steve Palumbi. "The past, present and future of evolution under the sea" Natural History Museum.|
|2008||David Stern and Brian Charlesworth. "Natura non facit saltum. Or does it?" Natural History Museum.|
|2009||Rob Barton & Robin Dunbar "Organs of extreme perfection and complication: how brains evolved" Natural History Museum.|
|2010||Sandy Knapp (standing in for Georgina Mace) & Bill Adams "Biodiversity 2010: are we locked on target?" Natural History Museum.|
|2011||Gavin Naylor & Janine Caira "Do hosts determine the distribution of parasites in the oceans?" Natural History Museum.|
|2012||David Gems & Daryl Shanley "How aging evolves" Natural History Museum.|
|2013||Detlev Arendt & Hervé Philippe " 25 years since Field et al. - will the real Urbilateria please stand up?" Natural History Museum.|
"rb>c@50 - the golden anniversary of Hamilton's rule"
Speaker: Laurent Lehmann (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland)
Abstract: This talk will present the key steps to derive the rb-c>0 rule and discuss the two results obtained by Hamilton in his 1964 paper: (1) an equation describing allele frequency change under natural selection expressed in terms of phenotypic cost and benefit and a genealogical concept of relatedness; and (2) a result about the maximization of inclusive fitness. The first result has been extended to all conditions and provides the rule that rules them all. The second result applies only under narrow conditions and points to a mismatch between Hamilton's aim for inclusive fitness and what has been proved over the last 50 years.
Speaker: David Haig (Harvard University, USA)
Abstract: W. D. Hamilton's concept of inclusive fitness revolutionized the way we think about social interactions. Individuals were shown to have an interest in each other's well-being to the extent that they shared common genes. His insights have had unexpected medical applications to understanding conflicts within genomes between genes inherited from fathers and genes inherited from mothers and to understanding how sibling rivalry can be expressed in the mother's womb during the early stages of pregnancy.
Title of Debate: How Did Life on Earth Begin?
Speaker: Dave Deamer, Department of Bimolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz CA
Speaker: Nick Lane, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL
Abstract: There is a paradox at the base of life. Membrane bioenergetics - the use of ion gradients across membranes to drive carbon and energy metabolism - are universal, but membranes are not. Radical differences between bacteria and archaea in membrane chemistry and active ion pumping suggest that LUCA, the last universal common ancestor, may have used natural proton gradients in alkaline hydrothermal vents to drive growth. I will outline a possible scenario for the origin of life in this environment, and present some experimental and modelling results which suggest that proton gradients could have driven the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry, and the deep divergence of archaea and bacteria.
Title of Debate: How does animal behaviour influence evolution?
Speaker: Professor Rebecca Kilner, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
Abstract: Although it is well-understood how evolution influences animal behaviour, it is much clear how adaptive behaviour then influences the subsequent course of evolution. Our lab focuses on one sort of behaviour, parental care, and uses experiments on the burying beetle to analyse how parental care influences distinct components of the evolutionary process. I will describe experiments that show how burying beetle parents influence the ecological conditions experienced by developing offspring, how parents can be agents of natural selection, and how different regimes of post-hatching care can accelerate or retard the pace of evolutionary change.
Speaker: Professor Jane Reid, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen
Abstract:Reproductive strategies enacted by individual organisms define social interactions and influence allele and genotype frequencies in subsequent generations, and thereby shape the course of evolution. However, we still do not fully understand the evolution or persistence of the widespread reproductive strategies that involve multiple mating, inbreeding and parental care. I applied quantitative genetic analyses to comprehensive pedigree, reproductive strategy and fitness data from socially monogamous but genetically promiscuous song sparrows (Melospiza melodia), to estimate genetic (co)variances that could drive or constrain ongoing micro-evolution of reproductive strategies.These analyses show how interactions between females and males can shape reproductive strategies, and illustrate how key evolutionary hypotheses can be explicitly tested in nature.
Title of Debate: On the Origins of the Domestic Dog
Speaker: Professor Love Dalen, Swedish Museum of Natural History
Abstract: Most researchers agree that the wolf is the ancestor of the dog, and that dogs were domesticated sometime during the last Ice Age. However, there is considerable disagreement on where and how domestication happened, as well as exactly when the divergence between dogs and wolves took place. The aim of this talk is to outline how recent genomic data from Pleistocene canid remains now allows us to start disentangling the history of dogs and wolves in much better detail.
Speaker: Professor Greger Larson, University of Oxford
Abstract: The earth is home to 150 million dogs. And dogs were unequivocally the first domestic plant or animal. Despite their ongoing pivotal role in human history, we don’t really understand where and when and how many times they were domesticated. In this talk I will focus on why we still know nothing and describe efforts underway that will lead to a satisfying answer.
Speaker: Professor Aoife McLysaght, Trinty College Dublin
Speaker: Professor Matthew Cobb, University of Manchester
Abstract:60 years ago, Francis Crick’s article ‘On protein synthesis’ was published, based on lecture he gave the previous year. I will explore what he was trying to do in the lecture, and in particular what exactly he meant by the ‘central dogma’, the extent to which this was a change over previous ways of understanding what is in a gene, and how his ideas have been misinterpreted and misunderstood, in particular in textbooks.
Speaker: Anne Stone Arizona State University
Abstract: We can gain insight into the future of human evolution by looking at our past. Research in my laboratory focuses on evolutionary history and understanding how humans and other primates have adapted to their environments, including their disease and dietary environments. I will discuss how we use genetic data to understand how diet and disease have shaped our genomes and affected our population history.
Speaker: Virpi Lummaa University of Turku
Abstract: The Industrial Revolution and the accompanying nutritional, epidemiological and demographic changes have profoundly changed human ecology and biology, leading to major shifts for example in our disease patterns, lifespan, family size or age at puberty. These recent social and cultural adaptations have cast doubt on the continued relevance of Darwinian selection in humans – we now have modern medical care and effective contraceptive methods so does that mean evolution by natural selection has stopped? I will discuss how mismatches between past adaptations and the current environment mean that gene variants linked to higher fitness in the past may now predispose us to non-communicable diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, cancer and coronary artery disease. Moreover, in both traditional and industrialized societies, differences among individuals still lead to selection favouring certain heritable traits because although survival to old age can be high, not everyone has the same family size and many forego reproduction altogether. In line with this, increasing evidence suggests that the transition to modernity has also altered the direction and intensity of natural selection acting on many traits, with important implications for public and global health.