While the sequencing of DNA extracted from fossils has been attempted since 1983, several technological revolutions such as rigorous lab practices and the availability of next-generation sequencing now make it possible to obtain high-quality ancient DNA data for many organisms. This opens up an unprecedented opportunity to include data from multiple time points when studying evolutionary processes such as past demographic events or the action of selection. In this workshop we will explore the range of evolutionary questions that will benefit from ancient DNA, and discuss important considerations in designing and executing research projects using ancient DNA, as well as best practices in analyzing ancient DNA data. While the ancient DNA field had arguably its largest impact on the study of human evolution, we want to focus on its broader implications: how can ancient DNA help to disentangle the effect of selection and demography? How should modern population genomic analyses be tailored to be applicable to ancient DNA? What are appropriate samples sizes for ancient DNA to make a real contribution? And the ultimate question for participants: would the inclusion of ancient DNA data make a difference in answering my evolutionary research questions?

Invited speakers:

  • Prof. Joachim Burger, University of Mainz (DE)
  • Dr. Christine Grossen, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (CH)
  • Dr. Janet Kelso, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (DE)
  • Prof. Eline Lorenzen, Natural History Museum of Denmark (DK)
  • Prof. John Novembre, University of Chigaco (USA)
  • Prof. Martin Sikora, University of Copenhagen (DK)

The first day will be organized in the form of a practicals to introduce students to ancient DNA genotyping and demographic inferences with ATLAS and fastsimcoal2, respectively. 

The next two days will be devoted to talks and break out sessions and a hike will follow a synthesis on the final day

This workshop is aimed at students in evolutionary biology that are using or are planning to use genetic data for their research. All participants will have the opportunity to present their work either in a short talk or a poster, and to discuss questions regarding their work with the invited experts and organizers.

Registrations are open until 31 July. Note that there is a limit of 30 students for the workshop, which will contribute to the promotion of interactions with the speaker ans organizers.