Two giant grants from the EU to the Natural History Museum of Denmark
The Natural History Museum of Denmark has received two large research grants totalling approximately 4 millioner Euro from the European Research Council, ERC.
Dr. Ludovic Orlando
PEGASUS: The makeup of the modern horse: a history of the biological changes introduced by human management.
The horse provided us with rapid transportation, an almost unrivaled secondary product that tremendously impacted the politico-economical trajectory of our societies, revolutionizing the circulation of ideas, people, languages, religions and communication. Horse chariotry and cavalry also changed warfare and beyond the battlefield new equestrian technologies have stimulated agricultural productivity. However, the 5,500 year long history of horse domestication and management, which transformed the natural evolutionary trajectory of wild horses into the more than 625 domestic breeds living today, is difficult to reconstruct from archaeology, history and modern genetics alone. Yet, with archaeogenetics, one can access the genetic information from past individuals and track in great detail past population trajectories. In this project, we will build on the latest advances in the analysis of ancient DNA molecules to gather new genomic, epigenomic and metagenomic information from ancient horses. This will be integrated with archaeozoological, isotopic and historical data to enhance our understanding of the multiple processes underlying the transformation of the animal that perhaps most impacted human history.
Granted: 1.99 million Euro.
This project will fund one post-doctoral researcher, three PhD students, a number of archaeological and historical studies, and isotopic and DNA analyses.
Professor Tom Gibert
Project: Extinction Genomics - Exploring and exploiting the potential of extinct genome sequencing
With recent revolutions in the generation of genomic scale data from ancient and even extinct species, popular perception has moved away from if extinct species’ genomes can be sequenced, to when it will happen - and even, when will the first extinct animals be regenerated. Unfortunately this view is naïve, and does not account for the financial and technical challenges that face such attempts. In this project we will be exploring exactly what the limits on genome reconstruction from extinct or otherwise historic/ancient material are, with a aim to build a framework against which the possibilities and limitations of extinct genome reconstruction can be assessed. Subsequently genomic information will be generated from a range of extinct and near-extinct avian and mammalian species, in order to showcase the potential of reconstructed genomes across research questions spanning at least three different streams of research: De-extinction, Evolutionary Genomics, and Conservation Genomics.
Granted: 2.0 million Euro
The grant will fund two postdocs, a PhD student and genomic sequencing.