By sequencing ancient DNA (aDNA) researchers are able to uncover information about the lives and origins of ancient humans, track genetic changes and get new insight into evolutionary questions. Among many other things, aDNA allows us to determine the sex of an individual, construct phylogenetic information, study familial relationships and also identify disease pathogens. aDNA can, for instance, provide information about the distribution and evolutionary changes of a pathogen and the disease it might cause.

In the SUGRIGE project (2016-2022) our research group studied the genetics of the ancient inhabitants of North-East Europe: Finland, North-Western Russia, and the Eastern Baltic region, and brought together the fields of biology, linguistics and archaeology.

In 2023 we continued with the new SUMRAGEN project, which focuses on utilizing aDNA sequencing to reveal the genetics of Finnish inhabitants from the Iron age to modern ages, and also the metagenomes of archaeological samples.

Figure: Reenactment of Iron Age individuals. Photo from Ulla Moilanen.