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Kayser, Manfred

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Manfred Kayser studied Biology and received his Diploma magna cum laude from the University of Leipzig in 1994. He obtained his PhD in Biology (Genetics) summa cum laude from Humboldt-University Berlin in 1998. In his doctoral work he investigated Y-chromosome polymorphisms and their applications to forensics and anthropology. Part of this work led to the introduction of Y-chromosomal DNA-analysis in forensic practice for which he received the Konrad-Händel Research Award of the German Society of Legal Medicine in 1998. He performed post-doctoral research at the Department of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University (USA) on the genetic history of human populations. He continued this work at the Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (MPI-EVA), in Germany, where he was a staff scientist from 1999 till 2003, and for instance demonstrated that Polynesian genetic ancestry is partly Asian and partly Melanesian correcting the previous hypothesis of a purely Asian origin of Pacific Islanders. In 2004, he received his formal recognition as university teacher in Genetics from the University of Leipzig and continued as Heisenberg Fellow with his own research group at the MPI-EVA.

As of April 2004 he is appointed as Full Professor and Chair of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and became founding Head of the Department of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC. Here he investigates various aspects of human biology and genetics that potentially provide solutions to currently unsolvable questions in forensics. For instance he mapped genes involved in eye color, demonstrated that a few genetic markers are sufficient to accurately estimate eye color from DNA and developed a forensically validated DNA test for eye color prediction available for practical applications. Research areas besides unveiling the genetic basis of human appearance and developing predictive markers and tools are in using DNA to infer bio-geographic ancestry of a person, developing biomarkers and tools for forensic cellular origin determination, using circadian biomarkers for forensic time estimations and developing DNA markers for male identification in special forensic cases such as sexual assault. He also is continuing his research interest in genetic history of human populations and footprints of natural selection in the human genome.

See the department website for more information.

Selected publications:
Kayser M and de Knijff P (2011)
Improving human forensics through advances in genetics, genomics and molecular biology
Nature Reviews Genetics, 12:179-192

Walsh S, Liu F, Ballantyne K, van Oven M, Lao O, Kayser M (2011)
IrisPlex: a sensitive DNA tool for accurate prediction of blue and brown eye colour in the absence of ancestry information
Forensic Science International: Genetics, 5:170-180

Branicki W, Liu F, van Duijn K, Draus-Barini J, Pośpiech E, Walsh S, Kupiec T, Wojas-Pelc A, and Kayser M (2011)
Model-based prediction of human hair color using DNA variants
Human Genetics, Epub Jan 4 2011, DOI 10.1007/s00439-010-0939-8

Zubakov D, Liu F, van Zelm MC, Vermeulen J, Oostra BA, van Duijn CM, Driessen GJ, van Dongen JJM, Kayser M*, Langerak AW* (2010)
Estimating human age from T cell DNA rearrangements
Current Biology, 20(22):R970
*contributed equally

Ballantyne KN, Goedbloed M, Fang R, Schaap O, Lao O, Wollstein A, Choi Y, van Duijn K, Vermeulen M, Brauer S, Decorte R, Poetsch M, von Wurmb-Schwark N, de Knijff O, Labuda D, Vézina H, Knoblauch H, Lessig R, Roewer L, Ploski R, Dobosz T, Henke L, Henke J, Furtado MR, and Kayser M (2010)
Mutability of Y-chromosomal microsatellites: rates, characteristics, molecular bases and forensic implications
American Journal of Human Genetics, 87:341–353

Liu F, Wollstein A, Hysi PG, Ankra-Badu GA, Spector TD, Park D, Zhu G, Larsson M, Duffy DL, Montgomery GW, Mackey DA, Walsh S,  Lao O, Hofman A, Rivadeneira F, Vingerling JR, Uitterlinden AG, Martin NG, Hammond CJ, and Kayser M (2010)
Digital quantification of human eye color highlights genetic association of three new loci
PLoS Genetics, 6 (5):e1000934

Wollstein A, Lao O, Becker C, Brauer S, Trent RJ, Nürnberg P, Stoneking M, and Kayser M (2010)
Demographic history of Oceania inferred from genome-wide data
Current Biology, 20(22):1983–1992

Liu F, van Duijn K, Vingerling JR, Hofman A, Uitterlinden AG, Janssens ACJW, and Kayser M (2009)
Eye color and the prediction of complex phenotypes from genotypes
Current Biology, 19 (5):R192-R193

Estrada K, Krawczak M, Schreiber S, van Duijn K, Stolk L, van Meurs JBJ, Liu F, Penninx BWJH, Smit JH, Vogelzangs N, Hottenga JJ, Willemsen G,  de Geus EJC, Lorentzon M, von Eller-Eberstein H, Lips P, Schoor N, Pop V, de Keijzer J, Hofman A, Aulchenko YS, Oostra BA, Ohlsson C, Boomsma DI, Uitterlinden AG, van Duijn CM, Rivadeneira F, Kayser M (2009)
A genome-wide association study of northwestern Europeans involves the CNP signaling pathway in the etiology of human height variation
Human Molecular Genetics, 18 (18):3516-3524