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Researchers from three continents work collaboratively to develop a database for aDNA metadata to streamline project planning and analysis

Community-curated and standardised metadata of published ancient metagenomic samples with AncientMetagenomeDir

Jan 30, 2021

Authors: James A. Fellows Yates, Aida Andrades Valtueña, Åshild J. Vågene, Becky Cribdon, Irina M. Velsko, Maxime Borry, Miriam J. Bravo-Lopez, Antonio Fernandez-Guerra, Eleanor J. Green, Shreya L. Ramachandran, Peter D. Heintzman, Maria A. Spyrou, Alexander Hübner, Abigail S. Gancz, Jessica Hider, Aurora F. Allshouse, Valentina Zaro & Christina Warinner

Scientific Data, January 2021. DOI:


Ancient DNA and RNA are valuable data sources for a wide range of disciplines. Within the field of ancient metagenomics, the number of published genetic datasets has risen dramatically in recent years, and tracking this data for reuse is particularly important for large-scale ecological and evolutionary studies of individual taxa and communities of both microbes and eukaryotes. AncientMetagenomeDir (archived at is a collection of annotated metagenomic sample lists derived from published studies that provide basic, standardised metadata and accession numbers to allow rapid data retrieval from online repositories. These tables are community-curated and span multiple sub-disciplines to ensure adequate breadth and consensus in metadata definitions, as well as longevity of the database. Internal guidelines and automated checks facilitate compatibility with established sequence-read archives and term-ontologies, and ensure consistency and interoperability for future meta-analyses. This collection will also assist in standardising metadata reporting for future ancient metagenomic studies.

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