Human Evolution @ UCL



"  Ancient DNA

DNA sequences from human remains provide a unique window on our evolutionary past, and allow us to to make increasingly robust inferences on the population history and natural selection processes of our ancestors and their pathogens. Ancient DNA technology has undergone substantial advances in the last several years - particularly as a result of ongoing developments in Next generation Sequencing technologies.

This has led to some of the most exciting recent discoveries in the field of human evolution, including identifying Neanderthal and Denisovan introgression into modern humans, showing that Mesolithic and Neolithic populations in Europe were genetically discontinuous, and uncovering signatures of natural selection acting on genes related to diet, infectious disease resistance, and skin pigmentation, to name a few.

UCL has a strong history in ancient DNA research and the UCL Ancient DNA facility was built in 2012 under the direction of Prof Mark Thomas. It is located in UCL's Institute of Archaeology but is  shared among the following stakeholders: The Division of BioSciences; The Institute of Archaeology; The Centre for the Forensic Sciences. The lab provides a high-containment ultra-clean environment for the extraction and first-stage processing of nucleic acids from archaeological and forensic materials, and is positioned well-away from any post-PCR molecular biology activities.

Experts in Ancient DNA

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