PACEA — De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie.

PACEA — De la Préhistoire à l’Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie. UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, CNRS.


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Methods in Palaeogenetics

par Frédéric Santos - publié le

The Palaeogenetics research theme aims to gather together members of PACEA interested in the study of genetic variability and the molecular evolution of ancient organisms (human, animal and vegetal) as well as researchers who wish to combine other types of data (biological, cultural, environmental) with genetic evidence.

This research theme focuses on methods for optimising the recovery of ancient DNA (human, animal, vegetal), better characterising genetic variability of the groups studied, and better integrating genetic data with other forms of evidence. The following elements are of particular interest :

  • Which sampling, extraction and analytical techniques are best adapted to specific materials ?
  • What combination of genetic markers is best for studying particular taxon or addressing specific questions ?
  • What is the impact of individual identity and sample construction for the characterisation of group or population level genetic variability ?
  • What methods should be developed or employed to integrate genetic data with other biological data or forms of evidence (cultural, environmental) ?

The methods in Palaeogenetics research group is period independent and focuses on all human, animal and vegetal groups. In doing so, it directly contributes to the other research themes of PACEA.

  • Theme 1 - Bio-archaeology : from past to present (coord. D. Cochard, C. Knüsel) : Development of techniques for the genetic determination of bones, taxon, sex and origins of individuals, procedures for characterising intra- and inter-population, as well as inter-specific, variability.
  • Theme 2 - Systems of representation : acts, practices, spaces (coord. J. Jaubert, S. Rottier) : Development and improvement of genetic tools for better characterising the identity of the deceased (sex, origin) as well as genetic relations between individuals.
  • Theme 3 – Environments, demographics and life-ways (coord. I. Crevecoeur, M. Langlais) : Improving the characterisation of inter-population human and animal genetic variability in order to more fully understand past demographic dynamics. The development of suitable methods for comparing genetic data with cultural and environmental evidence provides insights concerning the mechanisms underlying group mobility.

These methodological aspects are directly connected with PACEA’s Palaeogenetic research laboratory, which comprises (i) an area dedicated to the preparation and treatment of samples from archaeological sites, (ii) a clean room for all pre-PCR analysis, and (iii) a molecular biology laboratory for post-PCR stages of ancient DNA analysis.

Since 2009, PACEA’s Palaeogenetic research laboratory has actively pursued collaborations with other research labs on the Bordeaux campus as part of the development of a paleogenomic and metagenomic approach – the Genome Transcriptome Facility of Bordeaux and the Bordeaux Bioinformatics Center.