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Members of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre are active in different research projects.

Estimation of gene insertion/deletion rates with missing data

Lateral gene transfer is an important mechanism for evolution among bacteria. Here, genome-wide gene insertion and deletion rates are modelled in a maximum likelihood framework with the additional flexibility of modelling potential missing data.

Aug 28, 2016

North American Mammoth Diversity and Interbreeding

Here we report the sequencing of 67 new mammoths including non-Woolly specimens representing Columbian (Mammuthus columbi), Jeffersonian (Mammuthus jeffersonii), and pygmy (Mammuthus exilis) mammoths. In disagreement with the paleontological record, our analysis suggests that these mammoth species interbred, and may have resulted in specimens displaying intermediate Woolly-Columbian morphologies.

Apr 26, 2016

Shotgun Mitogenomics Provides a Reference Phylogenetic Framework and Timescale for Living Xenarthrans

McMaster Ancient DNA Centre researchers and collaborators study sequences all living Xenarthra (armadillos, sloths, and anteaters); the first major placental mammal clade to be have all living species sequenced.

Mar 02, 2016

Eighteenth century Yersinia pestis genomes reveal the long-term persistence of an historical plague focus

The 14th-18th century pandemic of Yersinia pestis caused devastating disease outbreaks in Europe for almost 400 years. The reasons for plague’s persistence and abrupt disappearance in Europe are poorly understood, but could have been due to either the presence of now-extinct plague foci in Europe itself, or successive disease introductions from other locations. Here we present five Y. pestis genomes from one of the last European outbreaks of plague, from 1722 in Marseille, France.

Mar 02, 2016

The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts

Among the fossils of hitherto unknown mammals that Darwin collected in South America between 1832 and 1833 during the Beagle expedition were examples of the large, heavily armored herbivores later known as glyptodonts. Ever since, glyptodonts have fascinated evolutionary biologists because of their remarkable skeletal adaptations and seemingly isolated phylogenetic position even within their natural group, the cingulate xenarthrans (armadillos and their allies). In possessing a carapace comprised of fused osteoderms, the glyptodonts were clearly related to other cingulates, but their precise phylogenetic position as suggested by morphology remains unresolved.

Feb 22, 2016

Ancient human genomics: the methodology behind reconstructing evolutionary pathways

A review of the processes undertaken in Ancient DNA studies - from sample to data analysis.

Sep 11, 2015

Surveying the repair of ancient DNA from bones via high-throughput sequencing

A comparative analysis on DNA repair/recovery methodologies to increase the amount of recoverable material.

Sep 11, 2015

Sequencing the complete genomes of two Siberian woolly mammoths

With an international team of collaborators, the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre is pleased to report the first complete genome sequences of two Siberian woolly mammoths.

Apr 25, 2015

Ancient pathogen DNA in archaeological samples detected with a Microbial Detection Array

Research paper outlining the usefulness of broad microarrays as a rapid and inexpensive paleopathological screening tool for ancient samples.

Mar 12, 2014