US creates multi-disciplinary centre to study human origins

March 5th, 2008 - 1:11 pm ICT by admin  

Los Angeles, March 5 (Xinhua) US scientists have founded a multidisciplinary centre bringing together various sciences to explore the origins of humanity, the University of California (UC) has said. The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), comprising experts from across the world, has been established by UC in San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla.

The initiative was the outcome of a 10-year independent study by scientists in the US.

The centre aims to further understanding about human and primate genetics and evolution, and advance knowledge in areas such as language, communication and cognition, human society and culture, the UC said Tuesday.

“CARTA is ‘transdisciplinary’, meaning it transcends or goes beyond traditional disciplines, and breaks down the walls between them.

“In doing so, we are more likely to succeed by eliminating the concept of individual disciplines and instead looking at knowledge as a broad-based continuum,” said the centre’s co-director, Ajit Varki, professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine at UC, San Diego.

For 10 years, researchers have been meeting regularly in La Jolla discussing topics related to the origins of humans, said Fred H. Gage, professor at the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute and co-director of CARTA.

“We are now ready to train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists to dig deeper into the question of human origins,” said Gage, who is also a pioneer in the study of brain stem cells.

At CARTA, definitive answers are most likely to come from discussions and studies that bring together a wide variety of approaches in the biological, biomedical and social sciences, as well as aspects of the arts and humanities, with important technological input from the physical, chemical and computing sciences, said Varki.

The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation, which has supported the symposia over the past 10 years, has committed $3 million to launching the new centre.

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