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Darwin-China 200 Conference at PKU

OCT . 28 2009

Peking University, Oct. 25: The Darwin-China 200 Conference opened in Peking University's Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center on Oct. 24.


During the 3-day event, 400 attendants are to exchange ideas on various issues concerning the Darwinian mechanisms, the comparison and dynamics of genomics, molecular evolution and speciation, reconstruction of phylogeny, biogeography, the origin of major groups and its paleontological evidences.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. Darwin's discoveries of evolutionary mechanisms and facts have made immeasurable contributions to the development of life sciences.

"He cannot change the nature, but he has changed the whole world," said Zhang Xian'en, director-general of the Department of Basic Research, Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

44 scholars of international reputation will speak at the conference. They come from 32 academic institutions across eight countries, Canada, China, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, the UK, the US and Japan, including 10 academicians or members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Royal Society in the UK, the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


"We all, in some senses, share the identity as followers of Darwin," commented Professor Hong Deyuan, academician of CAS, "beyond the difference in what we look like, where we come from or which language we speak".

Yan Fu (1854-1921), the first president of the Government University of Peking (renamed since the founding of the Republic of China in 1912), is also the first one to introduce Darwinian theories to China. He is well-known for his translation (first published in 1898) of Thomas Huxley's Evolution and Ethics, which not only initiated dissemination of the idea of biological evolution in China, but also had far-reaching social impacts in dissemination of science, intellectual enlightenment, reform movements and social revolutions.

Professor Rao Yi, Dean of the College of Life Sciences, spoke highly of the potential of researches on the theory of evolution in PKU and the country during his speech in the opening ceremony.

Professor Xu Zhihong, former President of PKU and Academician of CAS, was also present as a special guest.

The conference is co-organized by the PKU College of Life Sciences, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, and the State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany of CAS.

Edited by: Seren
Translated by: Jacques
Source: PKU News (Chinese)