This week the Venetian Vellum and Books and Beasts team travelled to the Emerald Isle (family home to Caroline) to meet with the Codex team there.
In 2002 a €2.5 million grant was awarded to Professor of Population Genetics, Dan Bradley of the School of Genetics and Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin to enable him to continue his research into ancient DNA of domestic animals from archaeological samples. The prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant was awarded for a period of five years.
The ‘Codex’ project, ‘Decoding domesticate DNA in archaeological bone and manuscripts’, uses state-of-the-art genetic tools to build up a ‘DNA data matrix’ of domestic animals over the last 10,000 years. The matrix could help identify key genetic changes that accompany domestication and subsequent animal management strategies. Genes should vary without major irregularities over space and time. But when they do not, such discontinuities in the matrix will highlight points of strong historical interest such as periods of economic turbulence − perhaps driven by climate fluctuations or plagues. The work should also give insights of value to modern farming, disease control and animal productivity.
It was great to see the recent work of the team and also for us to share our recent results and news of our travels. Matthew Teesdale (second from the left beside Sarah in the picture above) has been working on parchment crumbs for DNA extraction and it was good to see that is possible, if only in the early stages.
A big thanks to Dan and the team.