The field of ancient DNA has made major contributions to evolutionary biology and palaeontology in recent years, due to its power to reveal novel information about prehistory. However, even though many of the evolutionary processes that shaped the present-day biota have taken place over hundreds of thousands of years, nearly all ancient DNA studies to date have focused on biological changes during the last 50,000 years. I here propose a groundbreaking project that aims to study evolution on a million-year time scale. We will develop and apply novel palaeogenomic methods to extend the current limits of DNA recovery, which will allow us to address scientific questions previously thought to be beyond the realm of ancient DNA research. More specifically, we aim to sequence one hundred ancient genomes recovered from Early and Middle Pleistocene remains of multiple Holarctic mammalian species. This will enable us to examine macroevolutionary changes across speciation events and key periods of Pleistocene climate change. More specifically, we will investigate several fundamental questions on how species originate, the importance of interspecific introgression, the timing and rate of adaptive evolution, and the demographic consequences of past environmental change. My research group has a track-record at the cutting-edge of wildlife palaeogenomics, and recently led the study that extended the limit of ancient DNA recovery to beyond one million years. Based at the newly established Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, the project will extend beyond the current state of the art and will set a new paradigm for palaeogenomic research. The resulting data will provide an unparalleled resource for researchers studying long-term evolutionary dynamics and environmental changes at a global scale.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesgeneticsDNA
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesevolutionary biology
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencespalaeontology
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencesatmospheric sciencesclimatologyclimatic changes
- natural sciencesbiological sciencesgeneticsgenomes
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme