Reconstructing ancient genomes and epigenomes.
Research involving ancient DNA (aDNA) has experienced a true technological revolution in recent years through advances in the recovery of aDNA and, particularly, through applications of high-throughput sequencing. Formerly restricted to the analysis of only limited amounts of genetic information, aDNA studies have now progressed to whole-genome sequencing for an increasing number of ancient individuals and extinct species, as well as to epigenomic characterization. Such advances have enabled the sequencing of specimens of up to 1 million years old, which, owing to their extensive DNA damage and contamination, were previously not amenable to genetic analyses. In this Review, we discuss these varied technical challenges and solutions for sequencing ancient genomes and epigenomes.