Detailed information about the course

[ Back ]

Ancient DNA: A Time-machine to Study Evolution


August 29 - September 01, 2018


While the sequencing of DNA extracted from fossils has been attempted since 1983, several technological revolutions such as rigorous lab practices and the availability of next-generation sequencing now make it possible to obtain high-quality ancient DNA data for many organisms. This opens up an unprecedented opportunity to include data from multiple time points when studying evolutionary processes such as past demographic events or the action of selection.

In this workshop we will explore the range of evolutionary questions that will benefit from ancient DNA, and discuss important considerations in designing and executing research projects using ancient DNA, as well as best practices in analyzing ancient DNA data. While the ancient DNA field had arguably its largest impact on the study of human evolution, we want to focus on its broader implications: how can ancient DNA help to disentangle the effect of selection and demography? How should modern population genomic analyses be tailored to be applicable to ancient DNA? What are appropriate samples sizes for ancient DNA to make a real contribution? And the ultimate question for participants: would the inclusion of ancient DNA data make a difference in answering my evolutionary research questions?


Wednesday August 29
  • Practical course on ancient DNA data analysis in Bern (optional, register here)
  • Transfer to Leukerbad (Gemmi) Thursday 30. 8. 2018
Thursday August 30
  • Full day course with lectures by invited speakers and participants
Friday August 31
  • Morning: Full day course with lectures by invited speakers
  • Afternoon: Break-out session in small groups
Saturday September 1
  • Morning: General discussion
  • Afternoon: social event (hiking, optional)

Leukerbad (VS)


Active participation and presentation of own work (either poster or short talk)


The workshop is aimed at students in evolutionary biology that are using or are planning to use genetic data for their research.

Optional practical course @ University of Bern (see here).

The workshop will take place on the Gemmi Pass, an alpine location on 2350 m asl. To get there, take the train / bus to Leukerbad, from where it can only be reach by foot or cable car (included). Check here from timetables.

  • PhD students of the DPEE: free. Please note that a guarantee of 100 CHF will be asked to PhD students of the DPEE. This guarantee will be given back after the workshop.
  • Postdocs, Masters from CUSO universities (Lausanne, Bern, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Fribourg): 280 CHF in a triple room, or 320 CHF in double room
  • Other participants: 600 CHF. Please see below for stipends.

The registration fees cover full board from Wednesday evening to Saturday lunch (3 nights).


The ESEB ITN "ADAPT" is co-organizing this course and offers up to 10 Stipends of CHF 300 to join this course. To apply, send a motivation letter as well as your CV to Daniel Wegmann ( and indicate your application in the registration using the comment box.

All applications must be submitted by Saturday July 14 and the decisions will be communicated within the following week.

Reimbursement (DPEE PhD students only):

PhD students of the DPEE are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train (half-fare card, and 2nd class).Please send the original tickets (no copies, except for the general abonnement) with the reimbursement form to Marta Bellone (see contact details below).


Deadline: August 5, 2018

Optional (yet, warmly recommended) participation to the hands-on training on August 29 in Bern (register here).

Mandatory abstract submission, address to submit to be communicated



Deadline for registration 15.08.2018

Marta Bellone

Phone: +41 (0)26 300 88 91

Doctoral Program in Ecology and Evolution
PER04 building
University of Fribourg
Chemin du Musée 10
CH-1700 Fribourg

short-url short URL

short-url URL onepage