June 8 2009

2:00 LSB 2320

Michael Hofreiter
Professor for Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, University of York

Ancient DNA and high-throughput sequencing: Panacea or Pandora's box?


Ancient DNA is typically a field of research in which scientists are dealing with minute amounts of data and try to draw conclusions from limited information. However, as the whole field of molecular biology, this has changed in the last few years with the invention of so-called next-generation sequencing technologies (NGS). These techniques allow the decoding of currently around 10-20 Gb of sequence data in a single run. As such, they have given a boost to genome sequencing projects and even enabled the first genome projects on extinct species. However, ancient DNA is a lot about evolutionary biology which requires comparative data. Mostly we do not need complete genomes for this and sequencing a complete genome is still quite expensive? Especially if, as it is the case with ancient DNA, anywhere between 50 and 99.9% of the sequences originate from bacteria and fungi colonizing the fossils. The question therefore is can we adapt NGS in a way that it becomes truly useful for our needs. I will show ways how NGS can be used fruitfully in ancient DNA research to increase data sets in a meaningful way and at the same time decrease the amount of time and work we need to put in order to obtain such data sets











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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