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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?

Whole genomes reveal messy history of promiscuous proboscideans

A new collaboration between researchers at the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre and international researchers from across the United States, Europe, and Australia has resulted in the most comprehensive study of elephant evolution to-date.

Feb 27, 2018

Testing the validity of stable isotope analyses of dental calculus as a proxy in paleodietary studies

Stable isotopic analyses (δ13C, δ15N) of dental calculus have been suggested as a proxy for the study of diet of ancient populations but questions about their validity have been raised.

Feb 06, 2018

Congratulations Katherine Eaton, MacData Fellow

Congratulations to Katherine Eaton on being named a MacData Fellow. Her proposed research focuses on mining vast international repositories of DNA sequencing information, to obtain and complete new genomes from the causative agent of Plague - Yersinia pestis.

Jan 24, 2018