Clare Bycroft

“Reading history in our genes: Exploring the fine-scale

genetic structure of the Spanish population”

Tuesday, 9th June 2015



About the speaker: Clare Bycroft is a DPhil student at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics of the University of Oxford. She studied mathematics and history of mathematics as an undergraduate at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and then worked for three years for the  official statistics department of New Zealand (Statistics NZ). She became IMG_2834inspired after seeing a talk at a conference about how genetic data can be used to understand demographic history, and got into a fascinating field which combines maths, statistics, genetics, computer science, history and archeology.


About the event: On the 9th of June 2015 Clare Bycroft was invited to speak in the 2nd Madariaga Colloquium at the Massey Room in Balliol College, the last Madariaga event before summer holidays. Clare met a group of around fifteen attendees to talk about her ongoing DPhil project, which focuses on understanding the genetic relationship between early 20th century Spanish individuals from different populations in the country. She explained how gene markers, DNA sequences in which changes along time can be tracked, can be used to unmask the ancestry of a given person. With a sample size of over 1400 Spanish individuals, Clare shared the results of her analyses and presented different hypotheses to explain how contact between peoples shaped the current genetic map of Spain. Her presentation spannIMG_2830ed 45 minutes and was followed by a stimulating debate of a similar length. The group then walked to The White Horse pub, where the conversation continued over drinks.