The possibility to work with DNA from historic and prehistoric tissue provides the possibility to work with a time depth, not only by inference, but by actually doing genetics on radiocarbon dated material. Preservation of fossils as well as preservation of DNA in the fossils adds limits to the possibilities, but with present day knowledge on DNA degradation, and with the existing fossil record, we stand a good chance of getting behind most of the important events in H. sapiens history. This certainly holds true for all topics relating to farming, domesticating, and cultivating. At EBC we presently focus our work on two different topics in our ancient DNA efforts.
Cattle domestication and cattle breeding may be one of the most important processes in human history. With that, humans gained the possibility to see to their need for nutrition, and that what was demanded could also be provided. Cattle keeping have a history of 10.000 years, and it is just too easy to over simplify the questions relating to it. We try to trace effects of local domestication, or hybridization between aurochs and taurus, that may no longer be detected among modern cattle. We also try to study historic selective breeding, when it turned intense, and what traits were selected for. The materials we rely on are historic and prehistoric cattle remains, and also aurochs remains.
We are also interested in the colonisation of Scandinavia. Scandinavia may have been colonised from two directions, that is, over what is today Denmark and Scania, and also from the east. However, certain mitochondrial markers indicate that maybe Scandinavia was only colonised from the south, but in at least two distinct waves. We hope to find the answer for this in the last stoneage hunter/gatherer population in southern Scandinavia, i.e., the Pitted Ware Culture. And we hope that Y chromosomal as well as mitochondrial markers in this fossil material will be able to answer these fascinating questions.
+46 (0)18-471 6483 (office)
+46 (0)18-471 6310 (fax)
Dept. of Evolutionary biology, EBC,
75236 Uppsala, Sweden
EBC, Norbyvägen 18D, Room 1035