A brief history of palaeogenomics: How a young discipline revolutionised the study of the past


In only a few short years, the ancient DNA field has transformed from an anecdotal and artisanal discipline into one of the most dynamic current scientific fields, generating massive genomic data from hundreds of past individuals. These include extinct hominins such as Neanderthals and Denisovans and prehistoric humans, and have provided information about the recent settlement of the continents. The field of palaeogenomics gives direct space and time information about the adaptive and demographic aspects of human populations and reveals complex patterns of past migrations that can help us to understand our current diversity. The development of this discipline is a unique opportunity to establish partnerships with archaeologists and anthropologists and to build up a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the past.


human evolution; Neanderthals; genomics; prehistory

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