Articles on aDNA

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20 years ago, who could predict how much more researchers would know today about the human past – let alone what they could learn from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space. Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo

Archaeological discoveries are happening faster than ever before, helping refine the human story

20 years ago, who could predict how much more researchers would know today about the human past – let alone what they could learn from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space.
What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
Livestock, like these goats in the Rift Valley of Tanzania, are critical to household economies in East Africa. Katherine Grillo

Ancient DNA is revealing the origins of livestock herding in Africa

Pastoralism is a central part of many Africans' identity. But how and when did this way of life get started on the continent? Ancient DNA can reveal how herding populations spread.
New technology means accessing new information from ancient human remains, some which have been in collections for decades. Duckworth Laboratory

Ancient DNA is a powerful tool for studying the past – when archaeologists and geneticists work together

Ancient DNA allows scientists to learn directly from the remains of people from the past. As this new field takes off, researchers are figuring out how to ethically work with ancient samples and each other.

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