Author Archives: Patrícia Pečnerová

About Patrícia Pečnerová

I'm currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. My research interests focus on evolutionary processes in extinct and endangered species. For my PhD, I studied genetic extinction factors in the last population of the woolly mammoth. Now I'm working on genomics of wild mountain gorillas

Is the neutral theory dead?

You might have noticed how the world of genetics was shaking as the giants of theoretical population genetics started discussing some of the most fundamental questions in the arena of Twittersphere. This happened after the publication of Andrew Kern and Matthew … Continue reading

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Genomic signatures of ancient rendezvous and separation in elephant evolution

Evidence from various levels of the tree of life is showing that we’ve been picturing ancient encounters between related species all wrong and admixture events are probably more common than expected. Even rendezvous among primates, caniforms, and majestic proboscideans often … Continue reading

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Posted in conservation, evolution, genomics, hybridization, natural history, Paleogenomics, phylogeography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Un)usual sources of ancient DNA

Working with ancient DNA can be quite painful at times, but hard work pays off (or so they say) and scientists are starting to reap great benefits from their effort by exploring more and more things to extract DNA from.

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Posted in evolution, genomics, methods, Paleogenomics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Hype Cycle of Ancient DNA

Recently I saw a graph that I’ve learnt is called the Hype Cycle and is a methodology used in assessment of new technologies and their marketing. What strikes me about it is how well it fits my own research field, … Continue reading

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Posted in evolution, natural history, Paleogenomics, phylogenetics, population genetics, theory | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

What’s left of the black rhino’s genetic diversity?

With the current poaching epidemic we might lose rhinos before we even have time to get to know them. Luckily, the day has come and thanks to Yoshan Moodley, Mike Bruford and their team we know have a pretty good … Continue reading

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Posted in conservation, evolution, Paleogenomics, phylogeography, population genetics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Diving into the inbreeding depression

This post is going to be a little melodramatic, but I hope that despite all the reading on inbreeding depression, you won’t get depressed. As the media finally started feeding us all the catastrophic news about the impact of global … Continue reading

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The almighty CRISPR-Cas9 technology: The future of conservation?

In the first post on CRISPR-Cas9, I’ve explained how bacteria and archaea create a “database” of infections and use it as a form of prokaryotic immunization. This time, I’m going to concentrate on how biotechnology turns this natural phenomenon into … Continue reading

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The almighty CRISPR-Cas9 technology: How does it work?

CRISPR-Cas9 took the whole world of biology by storm. Selected Science’s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year, the CRISPR-Cas9 technology is revolutionizing science. Within five years of the official announcement (Jinek et al. 2012), it became the genome-editing technique of choice. … Continue reading

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Posted in evolution, genomics, methods, theory | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A tale of mammoths and a disappearing lake

A wonderful study revealed a sad story of the St. Paul Island population of woolly mammoths. Using a creative and diverse set of analytical approaches, scientists identified freshwater shortage as the likely cause of their extinction. A cross-disciplinary collaboration of … Continue reading

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The final nail in the coffin of Patagonian megafaunal extinctions

Are our ancestors responsible for Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions? Were the Ice Age giants doomed to extinction because they couldn’t adapt or is it human fault that there is no woolly rhino, giant deer and cave bear today? A new … Continue reading

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Posted in evolution, natural history, Paleogenomics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment