► Laboratory on Molecular Paleontology of IVPP
The main purpose of our ancient DNA laboratory is to research topics in evolutionary and population genetics, using molecular genetic approaches to clarify ancient human relationships, archaic hominid introgression into modern humans, migratory routes of early modern humans into Asia and interactions between early modern humans and contemporary local modern humans. Moreover, we use ancient genetic data to investigate the impact of Neolithic agriculture on demographic changes across Europe and Asia and look for potential local adaptations leading up to modern human populations.
Our group is not only highly proficient in using the key technologies required for sequencing ancient DNA, we have also conducted large genome-wide projects and published breakthrough articles, thereby demonstrating keen research perspectives, rigorous scientific practices and strong analytical capabilities in addressing problems in population and evolutionary genetics as well as molecular biology. Our contributions include: the estimation of the proportion and time of gene flow between Neanderthals and Late Pleistocene Central Asian and Siberian humans, using high-quality early modern human genomes; and the discovery that contemporary European populations are comprised of at least three different sources of genetic ancestry, revealing that modern human migration was not straightforward. These are some of the accumulating knowledge and experience within this lab, laying a solid foundation for future research.
Our laboratory has enduring relationships with many international teams at the forefront of ancient DNA research. Most notably, are the continual collaborations with the German Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology Professor Svante Pääbo's team. Professor Svante Pääbo is one of the founding members in the field of ancient DNA research, and has had impressive results in leading his team to solve fundamental questions about human origin and evolution, and participating teams are also using advanced experimental and bioinformatics methods leading by international standards. In addition, our laboratory maintains in-depth exchanges and cooperation with the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, in terms of joint research on human origins.