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Pathogens through space and time – Lessons from high-throughput screening for ancient pathogen DNA

This Club EvMed event occurred on April 3, 2024. Learn more about Club EvMed at

This conversation was led by Dr. Martin Sikora.


Over the past decade, ancient genomics has transformed studies of the evolutionary history of our species. As of 2024, population-scale DNA sequencing datasets of thousands of ancient humans are available. These large-scale datasets have facilitated not only in-depth studies of the human hosts, but increasingly also their associated pathogens. In this seminar, I will discuss what we have learned about infectious disease history and pathogen evolution by mining these datasets for ancient pathogen DNA. I will focus on our recent work on genomic paleoepidemiology of 1,313 ancient Eurasians spanning 10,000 years of human evolution.

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