Ancient DNA Lab opened in MKU; helps in genetic studies and data analysis for Archaeology Department’s excavations in Tamil Nadu


MADURAI: Genetic studies in Tamil Nadu will get a major boost thanks to the Ancient DNA Laboratory which was inaugurated and declared open in Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) in Madurai today- on November 17th 2022.

Mr.P.T.R.Palanivel Thiagarajan, Finance and Human Resources Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu, had inaugurated the DNA lab and also BSL-3 laboratory, in the presence of Prof.J.Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Madurai Kamaraj University, Prof.M.Sivakumar, university Registrar and Prof.G.Kumaresan, Head, Department of Genetics, MKU and others.

The Department of Genetics of MKU with RUSA support has established an ancient DNA lab, with the objective to generate and analyze ancient DNA data from archaeological excavations of Tamil Nadu. This lab has been set up by following the models at University of Chicago and Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow.

This will be useful to provide genetic / DNA and other biological evidence for the materials excavated by the Archaeology Department of Government of Tamil Nadu. The cost of the ancient DNA lab facility is coming to Rs.3.3. crores including the equipment installed.

The ancient DNA program of MKU is progressing in 9 directions for the past one year including ancient human DNA analysis, ancient animal analysis, ancient plant DNA analysis, microbiome analysis etc.

A press release received from the MKU here yesterday had informed that the university is primarily working in collaboration with Department of Archaeology of Government of Tamil Nadu. The skeletal samples from Konthagai, Sivagalai, Kodumanal, Mayildumparai and Adhichanallur are analyzed. Recently, the ASI excavated samples are also being investigated.

The press release added that MKU collborates with Prof.David Reich from Department of Genetics-Harvard Medical School, USA. Prof.Kumaresan, Head of Department of Genetics, School of Biological Sciences-MKU, is the coordinator of the Ancient DNA Team at MKU and here a clear expected outcome is there to generate ancient genomics data from the biomaterials of different excavations from Tamil Nadu, studies of ancient human migration, the molecular analysis of practices in Tamil Nadu in ancient years etc.


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