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Ancient DNA

The Bustamante Lab, in collaboration with experts from around the world, has made significant discoveries in the field of ancient DNA and made important inroads in democratizing ancient DNA sequencing and analysis.

Recent accomplishments in this area include: 

  • WISC (whole genome in-solution capture) - we have developed a method for enriching the small percentage of endogenous DNA fragments in ancient samples by using RNA probes to pull out the human portion and filter out the non-human DNA.
  • Ötzi - Our lab has been involved in sequencing Ötzi the Iceman, a 5300 year old corpse found frozen in ice in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991, and found unexpected aspects of Ötzi’s ancestry, with ramifications in our understanding of the spread of agriculture across Europe during the Neolithic period.
  • Kennewick and Clovis -  Along with collaborators, we analyzed two ancient genomes with large ramifications for the study of Native American prehistory, both an individual from the Clovis culture and Kennewick man.
  • Slave trade - By sequencing ancient samples from the Caribbean and other areas of the Americas, Mauritius and other areas affected by slavery, we are working to reconstruct the forced movement of peoples during the slave trade.
  • Other ancient DNA projects are helping to chart the domestication of dogs and other species and the arrival of farming into Europe via Bulgaria.



*Thanks to Nature Magazine for the figure below on "Genetic affinities between Kennewick Man and a panel of world-wide populations," originally published on 23 July 2015. Authored by lab members Morten Rasmussen,  David Poznik, and Carlos Bustamante et al.