To disentangle evolutionary history using integrated ancient DNA (aDNA) and isotopic methods, with a focus on human archaeology, zooarchaeology, and paleontology in the Eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, we apply and develop state of the art DNA analysis methods, multi-isotope approaches, data and computational methods, to investigate questions of population genetics and phylogeography.


About The ancient DNA lab

The Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (ΙΜΒΒ), Foundation of Research and Technology, Hellas (FORTH) is considered one of the leading scientific institutes in Greece with continuous and long experience in genomic analysis and with participation in genome decoding of several model organisms. By utilizing this experience and the power of novel technologies in DNA analysis the IMBB built a new laboratory of high standards focused on analyzing DNA from archaeological biological residues in order to answer questions of the modern archaeological research.

The Ancient DNA Lab was founded in 2016 in the FORTH facilities under the auspices of the Region of Crete that immediately identified the perspectives and the importance of the lab on promoting the cultural heritage of the country, on supporting the archaeological research, and on developing interdisciplinary scientific collaborations. The scientific activities of the lab are funded by competitive national and European scientific programmes and are supported by a series of strategic colorations with the departments of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The modern methods of massive DNA sequencing induced a novel, revolutionary methodological approach focusing on complex questions of the archaeological science, such as the origin and dispersal of past populations, the family relationships, the diet habits, the animal and plant domestication, and the expansion and evolution of diseases. The whole-genome sequencing of DNA salvaged into archaeological findings (human and animal bones and teeth, food residues, etc.), opens a new window to the past for the archaeological scientists, the anthropologists and the evolutionary biologists, as it gives the opportunity to exploit the bioarchaeological wealth of Greece and to shed light into obscure questions that the preexisting methods failed to answer properly.

The Ancient DNA Lab complies fully with the strict guidelines that are followed by forensic laboratories (proper cleanroom installations, compliance with good practices of cleanroom access, decontamination, sample handling, and protocol design), in order to ensure the analyses reliability. The Ancient DNA Lab is the first and only archaeogenetics laboratory in Greece and one of the most modern in Europe, whereas it is considered as a national infrastructure in the context of the Hellas-CH (Cultural Heritage) programme of the National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.

The addition of the Ancient DNA Lab in FORTH complements the foundation’s research and technology infrastructures for studying, preserving and promoting the cultural reserve of Greece and constitutes the FORTH as one of the biggest scientific centers worldwide.






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