About Us

The McMaster Ancient DNA Centre approaches a wide range of evolutionary and molecular biological questions using DNA and proteins from archaeological, paleontological, and forensic remains. We use state-of-the-art techniques to extract and sequence these molecules, discerning origins and population histories of a wide range of species, both extinct and extant. This allows us to follow evolution in action, directly testing models based on modern theory and observation.

The questions we address range from highly technical ones such as…

How long and under what circumstances does DNA persist in various fossil and geologic contexts?
How can we reliably and efficiently access even the most degraded of DNAs?
Can ancient DNA be repaired to make it more accessible?
How can we adapt modern techniques in DNA sequencing to ancient and forensic DNA?

To more evolutionary based questions…

How were past diseases different from their present-day strains?
What was the genetic diversity in extinct mammoth populations?
Why did the North American megafauna (mammoths, sloths, horses) all go extinct?
What were the giant ground sloths of the American Southwest eating over the last 40,000 years?

Frequent Collaborators

Frédéric Delsuc of Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution, Université Montpellier II
David Earn of McMaster University
Daniel Fisher of the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan
Duane Froese of the University of Alberta
C. R. Harington of the Canadian Museum of Nature
Johannes Krause of Universität Tübingen
Ross MacPhee of the American Museum of Natural History
Gregory McDonald of the National Park Service Museum Management Program
Ella Vazquez of the Instituto de Ecología, UNAM
Gerry Wright of McMaster University
Grant Zazula of the Yukon Paleontology Program
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Funding

Logo Social Sciences and Humanities Research CouncilPetro CanadaOntario Innovation Trust

CIHRNSERCCanadian Foundation for Innovation