Global warming at the end of the last Ice Age led to the inundation of vast landscapes that had once been home to thousands of people. These lost lands hold a unique and largely unexplored record of settlement and colonisation linked to climate change over millennia.
Within the Europe's Lost Frontiers project, researchers in the fields of archaeo-geophysics, molecular biology and computer simulation are seeking to explore the past environments, ecological change and the transition between hunter gathering societies and farming in the inundated land of the southern North Sea - Doggerland.
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Project Lead - sedaDNA analysis
Professor Robin Allaby, is chair of Genomics at the University of Warwick and leads the research group analysing the sedaDNA from cores recovere from the North Sea. His wider research group has interests in the evolutionary dynamics associated with the plant domestication process on several levels of organization: the gene, the genome, the population and the selective environment in which the population exists. They utilize genetic information directly from both archaeological and modern samples, and develop bioinformatic approaches for high throughput analysis. The group works closely with the archaeology community, and their empirical work is balanced by a theoretical approach, through computational biology, in which they study the complex evolutionary system which gives rise to the patterns of genetic diversity observed. Using this in vitro and in silico two-pronged approach the group seeks to answer questions about where crops come from, and how plants such as crops become locally adapted to environmental conditions. Such information may help us in the future to produce crops which are better adapted to a wider range of conditions: the key to a sustainable future is to understand the past.
University of Warwick