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Approved Research

1,000 ancient British genomes and the UK BioBank: evolution, history, and disease

Principal Investigator: Dr Pontus Skoglund
Approved Research ID: 89109
Approval date: November 3rd 2022

Lay summary

The British population is currently the world's most well-studied in the field of human medical genetics. This 5-year project extends the UK Biobank to a 3rd dimension, by adding DNA from more than 1,000 individuals who lived in Britain during the past 4,500 years. Performing the first fine-scale studies of ancient DNA from a single place will allow us to understand human evolution in response to epidemics, dietary shifts, urbanisation, and industrialisation. It will also aid archaeology and medical genetics by untangling the complex and rich ancestry of present-day British populations from Stone Age, through the Middle Ages to today. Collaborating closely with archaeologists, the project will contextualise DNA information about studied individuals, creating new ways to understand the complex tapestry of ancestry through the human past. By understanding how human biology evolved in the past, we will be better prepared to tackle health challenges today.