Here at ACAD, the incredible range of rare, ancient samples we get to work with always excites us. The DNA data we are able to recover from these samples, alongside their crucial contextual information, reveals amazing insights into our history. We also realise that sharing data allows all researchers to ask bigger, broader, more detailed questions, and gives us the ability to answer them in more depth. Continue reading
By Dr. Jimmy Breen (ACAD/School of Agriculture, Food and Wine)
Whether they are ancient or modern DNA samples, next-generation sequencing (NGS) is an incredibly important tool in extracting biologically relevant information. While sequencing your favourite materials on a genome sequencer is extremely useful, it can also be ridiculously expensive.
Before I was a joint postdoc here at ACAD and the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine (Waite Campus, University of Adelaide), I was a bioinformatics officer at a genome sequencing company. So I know about costing, as a result, usually around the pointy end of the year (i.e. grant season), I get asked lots of questions about potential sequencing projects by my colleagues. Continue reading
Dr Jimmy Breen speaks to the ‘Harvest’ program on Radio Adelaide 101.5fm with Heather Bray and Chris Brunner about ACAD’s ancient cereals project, and Bioinformatics as a career. Listen to podcast here.
All organisms leave traces of their DNA behind in the environment, for example, in hair, skin, faeces, eggs, larvae etc. By extracting and sequencing DNA from environmental samples such as soil or river water, we can identify the species that have contributed DNA to that sample, in the same way that a forensics expert can determine who was present at a crime scene. Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods were first applied to microbial communities such as bacteria and fungi. In the last few years, the breadth of eDNA studies has expanded to include plants, invertebrate and vertebrates. In one (slightly gruesome) study, researchers were able to detect DNA from over 20 different mammal species Continue reading