How ancient DNA is transforming history

How ancient DNA is transforming history | IT


Over the past 10 years, a new field has emerged which is revolutionizing our understanding of human history and anthropology. Ancient DNA, the analysis of DNA from human remains, is beginning to unravel some of the mysteries of the past, like the migration of people and the spread of culture, through periods of time from hundreds to tens of thousands of years.

Until recently, our reconstruction of the past relied on archaeology and tentative hypotheses, but now the hard science of genetics is beginning to take a leading role in understanding the population patterns we see across the globe today. At Trinity College Dublin, Prof Dan Bradley is a world leader in this emerging field – he has been trying to understand the human past from DNA for the past 25 years.

“For years, we had been looking at modern genetic data and trying to understand how population patterns may have come about,” he says. “But compared to ancient human DNA, the problem with modern data is that it can only bring us so far.”

Bradley explains it was the case of Ötzi the ice man, one of the first ancient Europeans to have their genome sequenced, which made him realize the power of ancient DNA.

Read on . . .

Source: How ancient DNA is transforming history