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The Genes That Make Us Human

Professor Christopher Wills

Evolutionary biologist Christopher Wills takes us on a tour of the emerging genetic history of our species. Many of our genes have changed rapidly, and sometimes in unexpected ways, since our ancestors diverged from the lineage leading to the chimpanzees some six million years ago. Some have even undergone significant changes since we and the Neanderthals diverged about half a million years ago. These rapidly evolving genes include some we have yet to sort out, but we are on the verge of understanding our evolution, including our remarkable brains, at the nuts-and-bolts level.

Instructor: Christopher Wills received his BA and MSc in biology from the University of British Columbia and his PhD in genetics from UC Berkeley. He was a professor of biology at UC San Diego until his retirement in 2010. His research interests include maintenance of genetic variability in human populations, the forces that maintain variation in complex ecosystems, the evolution of diseases, and the evolution or our species. He has published many books on human evolution.

Coordinator: Candace Gietzen

Course Number: OSHR-70153   Credit: 0 units

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