Ancient Genomes Reconstruction
The COVID19 crisis has shown that new viruses can have dire consequences and global warming may expose ancient species concealed by the permafrost. In the last decade, scientists have developed new techniques to extract DNA from fossils enabling us to learn about past populations of humans, animals, bacteria and past viruses. However, this success has been mostly limited to human populations with significant fossil records and species for which a closely related cousin species is available. This is mostly due to a lack of bespoke computational tools for analysing genomes from species with very distant living relatives or limited number of archaeological skeletal remains. My project therefore aims to develop novel statistical and computational methods to address this problem. Using these new algorithms, the ancient DNA community will be able to analyse enigmatic human populations, discover novel bacterial species, and uncover unknown ancient viruses in the thawing permafrost.
Sciencenews.dk has published a story on the project. Read it here (external link).