Willerslev Group – University of Copenhagen

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The Willerslev Group

The group's research is mainly adressing scientific questions within...

  • Human demography through time
  • Megafauna demography through time
  • Disease association
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA)

We use DNA/genomics/transcriptomics from contemporary and ancient humans, animals, plants and microbes in our research.

Nature, 10. February 2010. Sequencing first ancient nuclear genome.

Nature, 10. February 2010. Sequencing first ancient nuclear genome.

Get a closer look at the Willerslev Group's work

The main focus is on human migration and evolution. Since our groundbreaking publication in Nature in February 2010 we, together with internal and external collaborators, have published numerous papers on this topic. Several have been published in Nature and Science.

Ancient DNA: Papers covering the New World

'The population history of Native Americans', 'Kennewick Man: solving a scientific controversy', 'New DNA study unravels the settlement history of the New World Arctic' and 'Ancient Siberian genome reveals genetic origins of Native Americans'.

Ancient DNA: Papers covering Europe/Eurasia and Australia

'When modern Eurasia was born', 'Ancient genomes show the European meta-populations', 'Plague infected humans much earlier than previously thought', 'Aboriginals get a new history' and 'The genetic history of Aboriginal Australians'.

Papers covering environmental DNA (eDNA)

'Textbook story of how humans populated America is "biologically unviable"', 'Unravelling the causes of the Ice Age megafauna extinctions' and 'Sturdy Scandinavian conifers survived Ice Age'.

Selected recent papers (2016) from the Willerslev group

Malaspinas A-S, Westaway MC, Muller C, Sousa VC, Lao O, Alves I, Bergström A, Athanasiadis G, Cheng JY, Crawford JE, Heupink TH, Macholdt E, Peisch S, Rasmussen S, Schiffels S, Subramanian S, Wright JL, Albrechtsen A, Barbieri C, Dupanloup I, Eriksson A, Margaryan A, Moltke I, Pugach I, Korneliussen TS, Levkivskyi IP, Moreno-Mayar JV, Ni S, Racimo F, Sikora M, Xue Y, Aghakhanian FA, Brucato N, Brunak S, Campos PF, Clark W, Ellingvåg S, Fourmile G, Gerbault P, Injie D, Koki G, Leavesley M, Logan B, Lynch A, Matisoo-Smith EA, McAllister PJ, Mentzer AJ, Metspalu M, Migliano AB, Murgha L, Phipps ME, Pomat W, Reynolds D, Ricaut F-X, Siba P, Thomas MG, Wales T, Wall CM,  Oppenheimer SJ, Tyler-Smith C, Durbin R, Dortch J, Manica A, Schierup MH, Foley RA, Lahr MM, Bowern C, Wall JD, Mailund T, Stoneking M,  Nielsen R, Sandhu MS, Excoffier L, Lambert DM, & Willerslev E. A genomic history of Aboriginal Australia. Nature, 22. September 2016.

Pedersen MW, Ruter A, Schweger C, Friebe H, Staff RA, Kjeldsen KK, Mendoza MLZ, Beaudoin AB, Zutter C, Larsen NK, Potter BA, Nielsen R, Rainville RA, Orlando L, Meltzer DJ, Kjær KH, Willerslev E. Postglacial viability and colonization in North America’s ice-free corridor. Nature (2016), doi:10.1038/nature19085. Published online  10 August 2016.

Sigsgaard EE, Nielsen IB, Bach SS, Lorenzen ED, Robinson DP, Knudsen SW, Pedersen MW, Al Jaidah M, Orlando L, Willerslev E, Møller PR, Thomsen PF. Population characteristics of a large whale shark aggregation inferred from seawater environmental DNA. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0004 (2016). (PR), (OA)

For all 2016 and earlier publications please go to Publications.

(Updated 19.12.16)