Donnerstag, 05. Oktober 2017, 17:30

Human prehistory at the era of ancient DNA genomics

Ron Pinhasi (Ancient DNA Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna)

During the past decade the field of human ancient DNA (aDNA) has revolutionized our knowledge about human prehistoric migrations, interactions, and selection. A major constraint —the high failure rates and low endogenous DNA yields for past individuals from archaeological contexts— has been overcome, to a great extent, by the development of a new extraction method which targets the DNA inside the petrous bone. Harnessing this capacity together with other technological and analytical advances led to pioneering studies on the genomics of prehistoric individuals from Africa, the Pacific, the Near East, and other non-temperate world regions.

The lecture consists of three parts. The first part discusses the cellular microstructural and genetic processes that characterize the petrous bone method and how these led to a major breakthrough in aDNA optimization. The second part focuses on the synergies between aDNA genomics and archaeology with a particular focus on a series of studies by our group. The third part expounds on new developments and future directions.