Ancient population genomics and the study of evolution

TitleAncient population genomics and the study of evolution
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsParks, M, Subramanian, S, Baroni, C, Salvatore, MC, Zhang, G, Millar, CD, Lambert, DM
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Date PublishedJul-01-2016

Recently, the study of ancient DNA (aDNA) has been greatly enhanced by the development of second-generation DNA sequencing technologies and targeted enrichment strategies. These developments have allowed the recovery of several complete ancient genomes, a result that would have been considered virtually impossible only a decade ago. Prior to these developments, aDNA research was largely focused on the recovery of short DNA sequences and their use in the study of phylogenetic relationships, molecular rates, species identification and population structure. However, it is now possible to sequence a large number of modern and ancient complete genomes from a single species and thereby study the genomic patterns of evolutionary change over time. Such a study would herald the beginnings of ancient population genomics and its use in the study of evolution. Species that are amenable to such large-scale studies warrant increased research effort. We report here progress on a population genomic study of the Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae). This species is ideally suited to ancient population genomic research because both modern and ancient samples are abundant in the permafrost conditions of Antarctica. This species will enable us to directly address many of the fundamental questions in ecology and evolution.