Ancient DNA

Over the past three decades, ancient DNA research has maintained a consistently high profile in scientific journals and in the public domain. This is partly owing to appreciation of the attendant technical and methodological challenges, as well as the spectacular, and often controversial, claims that have characterised the field. In addition, ancient DNA work is often associated with charismatic animals such as the woolly mammoth, dodo, and Tasmanian tiger.

Most of our research into ancient DNA involves the analysis of sequence data. We do not have the laboratory infrastructure for processing ancient samples, but instead work with national and international collaborators who have such facilities.

Recent projects

Ancient mitogenomes
  • Mitochondrial DNA diversity and the evolution of the Pleistocene cave bear complex
  • Continuity of brown bear maternal lineages in northern England through the Last-glacial period
  • Persistence of the mitochondrial lineage responsible for the Irish potato famine in extant New World Phytophthora infestans
  • Revealing the maternal demographic history of Panthera leo using ancient DNA and a spatially explicit genealogical analysis
  • Evaluating the impact of post-mortem damage in ancient DNA: A theoretical approach
  • Species-specific responses of Late Quaternary megafauna to climate and humans