Laboratory for the study of ancient DNA

Founded in 1996 as part of the Laboratorio di Antropologia, the laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the extraction and analysis of ancient biomolecules from historical, archaeological and paleontological specimens. The lab houses a small group of researchers working on a diverse range of projects with a world focus and a broad agenda. Whether it be ancient DNA from some of Africa’s first farmers or, closer to home, dietary investigations of ancient Romans, we aim to provide innovative solutions to anthropological studies using the latest molecular techniques.

Our suite of laboratories features physically separate contamination resistant facilities dedicated to the extraction and PCR amplification settings of ancient DNA from archaeological specimens. The extraction and pre-PCR analysis of ancient DNA are carried out in the new highly specialized aDNA laboratory of the Departmental Centre of “Molecular Anthropology for Ancient DNA Studies” of the Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, recently realized in the monumental complex of Villa Mondragone, Monte Porzio Catone, Rome. The laboratory offers all the state-of-the-art facilities for aDNA studies, which consist of individual ‘cleanroom quality’ working spaces and dedicated vertical and horizontal laminar cabinets, with separate filtered air-supply systems, which allow researchers to work in isolation. The facility is maintained at positive pressure, UV and HEPA filtered and have restricted access, designed to minimize the possibility of contamination with extant human DNA. In addition, all equipment and supplies within the facility are subjected to regular UV sterilisation.

In other two laboratories located in the spaces of the Molecular Anthropology section of the Department of Biology pre- and post-amplification products are respectively processed and analysed. Also these laboratories offer all the state-of-the-art facilities for DNA and aDNA studies present in the laboratory of Villa Mondragone.

Our laboratory equipment includes:

· ABI 3100 Avant DNA Analyzer
· ABI 7700 “TaqMan®” real-time sequence detection system
· GeneAmp and Perkin Elmer PCR engines
· Protein and DNA Electrophoresis apparatus
· Spectrophotometers

Villa Mondragone laboratory

Changing Room

Pulverization room

Extraction1 room

Extraction2 room

PCR room