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ancient DNA

Ancient DNA is sequence information from the bones or tissues of organisms that come from historic or prehistoric collections. My work principally applies to prehistoric material, including skeletal material from Neandertals and Denisovans. Ancient DNA evidence on many kinds of organisms has become an important window into evolution.

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Solving the mystery of the Red Deer Cave people

New DNA evidence is revealing the genetic relationships of ancient groups from southern China, showing how they were connected to living people across the region.

Two reconstructed partial skulls side by side representing the Red Deer Cave people
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The top 10 discoveries about ancient people from DNA in 2022

Research on ancient genomes has moved way beyond population mixture into broader questions about how ancient people lived and interacted with their environments.

A researcher wearing protective mask, hair net, and gloves is reaching toward an archaeological profile with a test tube.
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Ancient genetic introgression between cave hyenas and spotted hyenas

Describing the results of genomic work by Michael Westbury and collaborators, including ancient hyena genomes from Eurasia and North America.

Spotted hyena on a dark background
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Research highlight: Making ancient DNA more ethical

I helped to draft a statement for the American Society of Human Genetics on responsible research on ancient DNA.

Research highlight: Making ancient DNA more ethical
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Why does ethical ancient DNA sampling seem so complicated?

Working with communities can be challenging but is essential to build a strong science of the past.

A DNA molecule sculpture in watercolor painting
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The genetic ancestry of modern lions

A comparison of surviving populations of lions in Africa and India with extinct lions, including cave lions from Siberia and Yukon.

Lion with cub
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Chicken ancient DNA and artificial selection during medieval times

A study on change in European chickens over time illuminates the challenge of studying selection in populations with immigration from other sources.

Chicken ancient DNA and artificial selection during medieval times
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Research highlight: Use ancient remains more wisely

In this contribution, Keolu Fox and I consider what is necessary to build a sustainable science of ancient DNA.

Front page of "Use ancient remains more wisely"
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Geneticists work to understand how skeletons wound up in a mysterious Himalayan lake

Reviewing new work that reveals migrants from several historic periods in the skeletons surrounding this lake in India.

Roopkund Lake surrounded by snowy rocks
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How will ancient proteins change paleoanthropology?

Paleoproteomic methods may provide exciting avenues toward understanding pieces of fossils and their relationships.

Denisova 11 bone fragment in four views