Journal article

The Recovery, Interpretation and Use of Ancient Pathogen Genomes

Sebastian Duchene, Simon YW Ho, Ann G Carmichael, Edward C Holmes, Hendrik Poinar

Current Biology | CELL PRESS | Published : 2020


The ability to sequence genomes from ancient biological material has provided a rich source of information for evolutionary biology and engaged considerable public interest. Although most studies of ancient genomes have focused on vertebrates, particularly archaic humans, newer technologies allow the capture of microbial pathogens and microbiomes from ancient and historical human and non-human remains. This coming of age has been made possible by techniques that allow the preferential capture and amplification of discrete genomes from a background of predominantly host and environmental DNA. There are now near-complete ancient genome sequences for three pathogens of considerable historical i..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by National Health and Medical Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

H.P. acknowledges all current and former lab members for their thoughtful insights and tremendous input into the discovery of ancient molecules, without whom most of the work cited herein would never have come to fruition. H.P. also thanks D. Poinar for continued help on illuminating the evolutionary history of infectious disease, Ravneet Sidhu and Stephanie Marciniak for compiling the pathogen database and the numerous collaborators and curators who have graciously provided access to the many remains that have been used for study. H.P. is supported through the Social Sciences and Humanities, Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canadian Institutes for Advanced Research, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and McMaster University. S.D. was funded by the Australian Research Council (grant number: DE190100805) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (grant number: APP1157586).