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Trinity College Researchers to Build DNA Matrix of Ancient Domestic Animals

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have netted €2.5 million ($3.3 million) in funding from the European Research Council to fund research into the genetics of domestic animals, including cattle, sheep, and goats.

The five-year ERC Advanced Grant will support the Codex project, which aims to study DNA from archaeological samples and manuscripts made from animal hide to create a DNA data matrix of domestic animals over the past 10,000 years. This matrix may help researchers identify genetic changes that were caused by domestication and make discoveries about animal management strategies, Trinity said late last week.

As part of the project, researchers at the University of York will receive €500,000 of the total grant to implement a peptide-based high throughput species identification system.

The project will sample ancient manuscripts made from domesticated animals, and will provide a way of identifying where a sample came from – a "genetic postcode" that could help researchers study patterns of exchange and trade, as well as evolution, Trinity said.

"This research gives us the opportunity to build the genetic map of farm animals stretching back to their beginnings and will not only tell us much about their biology but also the key events that have formed our continent's human history," lead investigator Dan Bradley, a professor of population genetics at Trinity's School of Genetics and Microbiology, said in a statement.