Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HOPE (HOminin Proteomes in human Evolution)
Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-10-31
The main outcome of this research was that proteins are recoverable beyond the limits of ancient DNA preservation, and that proteins preserved in enamel specifically survive over extended geological time scales. These proteins remain phylogenetically informative. In other words, their amino acid sequences are variable enough from species to species to determine evolutionary relationships. Simultaneously, be either enlarging the number of proteases used, or entirely eliminating them, the project was involved in enhancing extraction methods for proteins in skeletal material generally. These new approaches either allow access to extremely ancient proteomes, or enhance proteome complexity, and thereby their evolutionary utility.
During HOPE, a 3-month secondment to the group of Dr.. Skoglund at the Crick Institute provided a training opportunity to acquire enhanced insights into population genetic methods and their potential applicability to ancient protein datasets in the future. The training was completed successfully.
The bioinformatics training achieved during the secondment have shown potential for future enhancement, and would opportunistically provide another step-change in our ability to analyze ancient protein datasets for evolutionary purposes.
The impact of this research has been noticed by global media, and resulted in the appearance in various written, radio, and TV outlets.