Big money for small organisms

Anders Götherström has been awarded a 50M SEK research grant from the Swedish Research Council. The project, titled “Prehistoric microbes and human interaction”, aims to explore microbiotas dependent upon prehistoric societies and actions. A large amount of ancient DNA shotgun data has already been produced in Stockholm and in other places, but in most cases only the mammalian DNA has been analyzed from these bones and teeth. By analyzing the ancient microbial genomes in the raw data, we will study pathogenic outbreaks, how the pathogens moved within societies and between societies and even between species. In some cases we will also explore the evolution of specific microbes, and how their phenotypes have changed over time.