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Experience Makes a Difference

Academic studies. Career exploration. Community involvement.

We aim to enrich undergraduate education in the Faculty of Social Sciences through fostering unique approaches to learning within the classroom and more actively engaging students in the community, as well as promoting strong relationships between academic studies, career exploration and community involvement.

About Us

The McMaster Ancient DNA Centre approaches a wide range of evolutionary and molecular biological questions using DNA and proteins from archaeological, paleontological, and forensic remains. We use state-of-the-art techniques to extract and sequence these molecules, discerning origins and population histories of a wide range of species, both extinct and extant. This allows us to follow evolution in action, directly testing models based on modern theory and observation.

The questions we address range from highly technical ones such as…

  • How long and under what circumstances does DNA persist in various fossil and geologic contexts?
  • How can we reliably and efficiently access even the most degraded of DNAs?
  • Can ancient DNA be repaired to make it more accessible?
  • How can we adapt modern techniques in DNA sequencing to ancient and forensic DNA?

To more evolutionary based questions…

  • How were past diseases different from their present-day strains?
  • What was the genetic diversity in extinct mammoth populations?
  • Why did the North American megafauna (mammoths, sloths, horses) all go extinct?
  • What were the giant ground sloths of the American Southwest eating over the last 40,000 years?

A female woolly mammoth’s lifetime movements end in an ancient Alaskan hunter-gatherer camp

Tracking the movement of both mammoths and native Alaskans reveals their interactions.
Jan 17, 2024

Permafrost microbial communities follow shifts in vegetation, soils, and megafauna extinctions in Late Pleistocene NW North America

Ancient metagenome communities can be used to track macro-ecological changes
Dec 06, 2023

A 14th century CE Brucella melitensis genome and the recent expansion of the Western Mediterranean clade

A high-quality 14th C. CE Brucella melitensis genome points to a speciation event contemporaneous to sheep domestication.
Aug 01, 2023