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Beth Shapiro

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Nationality  United States
Name  Beth Shapiro

Fields  Evolutionary biology
Awards  MacArthur Fellowship
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Institutions  UC Santa Cruz, Oxford University, Pennsylvania State University
Alma mater  University of Georgia Oxford University
Known for  examination and analysis of ancient DNA
Notable awards  MacArthur Fellowship (2009)
Books  How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction
Education  University of Georgia, University of Oxford

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Beth Alison Shapiro (born 1976) is an American evolutionary molecular biologist. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Shapiro's work has centered on the analysis of ancient DNA. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (aka “genius grant”) in 2009 and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) in 2006.


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Early life and education

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Shapiro was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and grew up in Rome, Georgia, where she served as the local news presenter while still in high school. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 1999 with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in ecology. The same year she was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship followed by a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford for research on inferring evolutionary history and processes using ancient DNA supervised by Alan J. Cooper.

Career and research

Beth Shapiro Beth Shapiro MacArthur Foundation

Shapiro was appointed a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2004. The same year she was appointed director of the Henry Wellcome Biomolecules Centre at Oxford, a position she held until 2007. In 2006 she was awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship. While at the Biomolecules Centre Shapiro carried out mitochondrial DNA analysis of the dodo.

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Shapiro's research on ecology has been published in leading journals including Molecular Biology and Evolution, PLOS Biology, Science and Nature. In 2007, she was named by Smithsonian Magazine as one of 37 young American innovators under the age of 36.


Beth Shapiro Shapiro

Selected peer reviewed publications in scientific journals and books include:

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  • Bayesian coalescent inference of past population dynamics from molecular sequences
  • Rise and fall of the Beringian steppe bison
  • Ancient DNA: Methods and Protocols
  • How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction
  • Flight of the Dodo
  • A late Pleistocene steppe bison (Bison priscus) partial carcass from Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, Canada

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