Ancient Plant Genomics in Archaeology, Herbaria, and the Environment: Annual Review of Plant Biology

Logan Kistler, Vanessa C. Bieker, Michael D. Martin, Mikkel Winther Pedersen, Jazmín Ramos Madrigal, Nathan Wales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ancient DNA revolution of the past 35 years has driven an explosion in the breadth, nuance, and diversity of questions that are approachable using ancient biomolecules, and plant research has been a constant, indispensable facet of these developments. Using archaeological, paleontological, and herbarium plant tissues, researchers have probed plant domestication and dispersal, plant evolution and ecology, paleoenvironmental composition and dynamics, and other topics across related disciplines. Here, we review the development of the ancient DNA discipline and the role of plant research in its progress and refinement. We summarize our understanding of long-term plant DNA preservation and the characteristics of degraded DNA. In addition, we discuss challenges in ancient DNA recovery and analysis and the laboratory and bioinformatic strategies used to mitigate them. Finally, we review recent applications of ancient plant genomic research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-629
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
Early online date2 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020

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© 2020 by Annual Reviews. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Archaeogenomics
  • Paleogenomics
  • Ancient plant DNA
  • environmental ancient DNA
  • Archaeobotany
  • herbarium collections

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