Human biology and ancient DNA: exploring disease, domestication and movement.
Annals of human biology
Taylor & Francis
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Houldcroft, C., Rifkin, R. F., & Underdown, S. J. (2019). Human biology and ancient DNA: exploring disease, domestication and movement.. Annals of human biology, 46 (2), 95-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/03014460.2019.1629536
The development of ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis has radically transformed how we think about and study the past. The use of aDNA technology has permeated almost every area of anthropology and archaeology and continues to radically alter how we understand the past (Paabo et al. 1989, 2004; Meyer et al. 2016; Slon et al. 2017). Ancient DNA has both vastly enriched and complicated the mosaic picture of the human story from Neanderthals and Homo sapiens interbreeding to the identification of the hitherto unknown Denisovan group (Slon et al. 2017). aDNA has revolutionised the fields of archaeology, population genetics and evolutionary biology, allowing us to directly test hypotheses about past populations which could formerly only be inferred from other lines of evidence. aDNA has also revealed new species, challenged assumptions about admixture and demonstrated that processes such as animal and plant domestication are even more complex than we had assumed. Currently, the oldest aDNA (from a horse) is dated to 700,000 years ago (Orlando et al. 2013) and the oldest human aDNA to 400,000 years ago (Meyer et al. 2016), potentially opening up much of human prehistory to this new field. However, there are also questions which cannot currently be answered by aDNA, whether because of the age or nature of a sample, the preservation conditions or ethical considerations, including engagement with indigenous and marginalised groups. These themes were explored by the participants of the 59th Society for the Study of Human Biology Symposium held in August 2018 at Oxford Brookes University, UK.
Humans, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Archaeology, History, Ancient, Biological Evolution, Human Migration, Domestication, DNA, Ancient
Not funded (editorial for journal special edition)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03014460.2019.1629536
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/294720
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