Eske Willerslev in the laboratory.
|Born||June 5, 1971
|Institutions||University of Copenhagen|
|Known for||Ancient DNA|
Eske Willerslev is a Danish evolutionary biologist notable for his pioneering work on Ancient DNA. He is currently a full professor at Copenhagen University and leader of the Ancient DNA and Evolution Group. He has received the Genius Award (Geniusprisen) of Danish Science journalists for his combination of groundbreaking research with an aggressive media strategy. Before becoming a scientist he lived for several years as a trapper in Siberia with his twin brother, anthropologist Rane Willerslev.
His group is interested in understanding what caused the decreases in diversity of Megafauna after the last ice age and also tries to develop techniques to recover DNA mostly from ice preserved specimens, such as DNA from sediments in ice cores and fossil bones found in permafrost. In 2010, a team led by Prof. Willerslev sequenced the genome of a 4.000 year old man from the Saqqaq culture of Greenland from his hair.
- Willerslev, E., A. J. Hansen, J. Binladen, T. B. Brand, M. T. P. Gilbert, B. Shapiro, M. Bunce, C. Wiuf, D. A. Gilichinsky, and A. Cooper. 2003. Diverse Plant and Animal Genetic Records from Holocene and Pleistocene Sediments. Pages 791-795 in Science American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- PROFILE: ESKE WILLERSLEV: Ancient DNA's Intrepid Explorer, Science Magazine, 6 July 2007.
- Paleogenetics: Icy resolve, Nature, 10 February 2010.