PhD defence - Sarah Fordyce – University of Copenhagen

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04 June 2012

PhD defence - Sarah Fordyce

Exploring the potential of second-generation sequencing in diverse biological contexts

Time and place:
Friday 8 June 2012 at 14:30 in the Auditorium at:

The Geological Museum
The Natural History Museum of Denmark,
Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Copenhagen K


  • Professor Tom Gilbert, Natural History Museum of Denmark

  • Professor Eske Willerslev, Natural History Museum of Denmark

  • Dr Lars P. Nielsen, Natural History Museum of Denmark

Assessment committee:

  • Associate professor Lars Hestbjerg Hansen, Department of Biology

  • Associate professor Robin Allaby, University of Warwick

  • Professor Richard J. Webby, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, US


Second generation sequencing (SGS) has revolutionized the study of DNA, allowing massive parallel sequencing of nucleic acids with unprecedented depths of coverage. The research undertaken in this thesis occurred in parallel with the increased accessibility of SGS platforms for routine genetic studies, and thus the principle aim of this thesis research was to explore and improve methods for SGS of non-conventional and/or challenging templates. These templates include forensic blood samples for short tandem repeat characterization, ancient RNA from maize kernels, and predominantly 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus genomes. The results of these studies demonstrate the power of SGS for gaining insight into the genetic variation of diverse biological samples and highlight the importance of using optimized protocols for sequencing non-conventional samples.