Sedimentary Ancient DNA, sedaDNA, has emerged as a powerful proxy for paleoclimate/paleo-biodiversity reconstructions. My experience with sedaDNA has focused on marine sediment cores from the Arctic and sub-Arctic North Atlantic. The power of sedaDNA lies in the ability to capture a larger fraction of marine biodiversity relative to traditional methods (i.e. microfossil assemblages or organic carbon measurements).
Working with sedaDNA is an exciting challenge, as the collection, extraction, and downstream workflow of ancient DNA requires careful precision at every step. Ancient DNA molecules are often heavily degraded, and the molecular signal is easily contaminated by modern molecules. Through my work with European Research Council funding project, AGENSI, I have gained extensive experience in the set-up of a dedicated ancient DNA laboratory (aDNA Lab of NORCE), development/execution of ancient DNA laboratory protocols (e.g. PPE work, contamination control, decontamination procedures), and the post-laboratory data analysis.
Sedimentary ancient DNA collected from marine sediment cores is at the edge of current paleoceanography, and special care should be taken to ensure careful and precise reconstructions. My approach in the ancient DNA laboratory is meticulous, the sensitivity and often precious nature of sediment samples requires the utmost attention. In addition to my PhD experience working with sedaDNA, my background in a range of molecular biology laboratory techniques (e.g. epigenetic assessments, primary cell culture) have contributed to my confidence and success in delicate aDNA workflows.