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Taking its place in History – Ancient DNA Analysis Lab Opens in East Midlands
Jun 27 2022
A specialist laboratory that will enable studies of DNA from ancient and environmental samples has been opened on the Sutton Bonington Campus at the University of Nottingham, the first of its kind in the region. Allowing isolation and analysis of damaged, degraded and low-copy DNA, the Nottingham Ancient and Environmental DNA Laboratory (ÆDNA) will address research questions across biology, environmental science, geography and archaeology.
Built as a clean room environment the new laboratory incorporates a bespoke air filtration system and contamination-destroying ultraviolet lights for overnight use.
Laboratory lead Dr Andrew Clarke, Assistant Professor in Archaeogenetics and for the ÆDNA project said: “The new lab will represent a significant advance in research capability at the University and provide a great opportunity for researchers from different disciplines to work together on important projects. Having access to this state-of-the-art facility will allow researchers to analyse DNA from archaeological material, preserved plant specimens, ancient soils and museum pieces that are hundreds to thousands of years old.”
Professor Hannah O’Regan will be among the first scientists to start using the lab. She said: “I’m really excited by the opportunities offered by the new lab for archaeology research at the University of Nottingham. For my research area, ancient DNA can tell us about the relatedness of domestic animals, to allow us to look at breeding and in very special cases coat colour. I’m currently working on several projects involving extinct or endangered wild mammals in Britain, and the lab will be a crucial part of piecing together their stories.”
The lab was officially opened by Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science, Zoe Wilson who commented: “As well as offering a fantastic new research facility for multidisciplinary research, the ÆDNA lab will also bring new opportunities for external collaborations which will also extend our international reach in this area. It also has the potential to bring commercial and civic opportunities with possible heritage and historic projects that will benefit the local and wider community.”
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