Laboratory of Paleogenetics and Conservation Genetics

Ancient DNA is powerful tool to reconstruct evolutionary processes which occurred thousands of years ago. Extraction of DNA from various kind of remains coupled with the high throughput sequencing, radiocarbon dating and isotopic analyses enables investigation ancient populations and tracing its changes through the time and space. In our laboratory we use state of the art techniques to resolve wide range of intriguing questions pertaining to biology, palaeontology, anthropology and archaeology. Currently our research focuses on the two main topics.

First one is reconstruction of evolutionary histories of Late Pleistocene mammal species. We investigate population dynamics and migration patterns as a reaction on the climatic changes which took place in the past. The knowledge learnt form past populations could help to predict species’ responses to the climatic changes in the future. Currently, we explore several small mammal species throughout Eurasia such as common vole (M. arvalis), field vole (M. agrestis), narow-heded vole (M. gregalis), bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) and root vole (Microtus oeconomus).

The second group of projects encompasses paleogenomics ancient human populations. We study of pre-Columbian populations with the main objective to broaden the knowledge about the social structure and history of the two Andean civilizations – Tiwanaku and Inka. We also aim to explore the genetic history of Poland by studying historical human remains from Poland and broader Central Europe.

We are now looking for highly motivated students who would like to get involved in the ongoing projects.

More information about the projects and recruitment process is available on our website.

Prof. Piotr Węgleński
phone: +48 22 55 43746
room: 04.224

Geneticist, professor at the University of Warsaw.

All scientific career connected with the University of Warsaw: 1961 Master’s degree, 1965 doctorate, 1974 habilitation, 1982 associate professor, 1989 full professor.

He has done post-doctoral research in Great Britain and the US. Visiting professor at the Masachussetts Institute of Technology (1987 -1989) and Universite Paris-Sud (1991). Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warsaw in the 1980s and 1990s, Rector in 1999-2005.

Professor Węgleński is a pioneer of genetic engineering in Poland, author of several dozen publications in the field of genetics and co-author of several academic books and textbooks. Cited more than 600 times, index H=17. He has promoted several dozen master’s and several doctoral theses. He received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ivanofrankivsk (Ukraine), Podgorica (Montenegro), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Arequipie (Peru), as well as French Golden Academic Palms and Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. He is a full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a member of the Warsaw Scientific Society and a member of the Commission for Ethics in Science.

Title Project Leader Project period Project funding
Studying small mammals paleogenomics to reveal population history, selection and local adaptations Mateusz Baca 2021 - 2026 SONATA BIS 10, NCN
Reconstruction and calibration of genome-based phylogeny of the Microtus genus using the Middle Pleistocene genomes Mateusz Baca 2021-08-02 - 2024-08-01 OPUS 20 NCN
Five thousand years of history of domestic cat in Central Europe. Interdisciplinary study of paleogenetics and archaeozoology Danijela Popovic 2020 - 2024 OPUS 18, NCN
Reconstruction the evolutionary history of the European snow vole (Chionomys nivalis, Cricetidae, Mammalia) based on ancient DNA and radiocarbon dating in the context of climate changes in the late Pleistocene and Holocene Aleksandra Żeromska 2021 - 2024 PRELUDIUM 19, NCN
Genetic analyses of extinct and recent forms of Saiga (family Bovidae) to determine their taxonomic variation and phylogeographic relationships in comparison with morphological and palaeoclimatic data Mateusz Baca 2021 - 2024 OPUS 19, NCN
Genetic history of Poles Piotr Węgleński 2019 - 2022 OPUS 16, NCN
Impact of climate and environmental changes on population dynamics, migration and extinction events of selected rodent species in Late Pleistocene and Holocene Mateusz Baca 2018 - 2022 OPUS 13, NCN
Phylogeography, genetic diversity and habitats of occurence of moose (Alces alces) in Eurasia in Late Pleistocene and Holocene Danijela Popovic 2019 - 2022 OPUS 15, NCN
The new role of KAEA, the highly conserved subunit of the KEOPS/EKC complex, in the model filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans Joanna Gawlik 2017 - 2021 PRELUDIUM 12, NCN
Late Pleistocene and Holocene evolutionary histories of two vole species. Reconstruction of populations responses on climate change using ancient DNA and radiocarbona dating Mateusz Baca 2016 - 2020 SONATA 10, NCN
Ancient genomes reveal long-range influence of the pre-Columbian culture and site of Tiwanaku
Popović D, Molak M, Ziółkowski M, Vranich A, Sobczyk M, Vidaurre DU, Agresti G, Skrzypczak M, Ginalski K, Lamnidis TC, Nakatsuka N, Mallick S, Baca M.
Sci Adv. 2021 Sep 24;7(39):eabg7261. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg7261.
Molecular species assignment and dating of putative pre-Columbian dog remains excavated from Bolivia
Popović, D., España, V. M., Ziółkowski, M., Weglenski, P., & Baca, M.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 31, 102273
Diverse responses of common vole (Microtus arvalis) populations to Late Glacial and Early Holocene climate changes – Evidence from ancient DNA
Baca, M., Popović, D., Baca, K., Lemanik, A., Doan, K., Horáček, I., ... & Nadachowski, A.
Quaternary Science Reviews, 233, 106239
The impact of major warming at 14.7 ka on environmental changes and activity of Final Palaeolithic hunters at a local scale (Orawa-Nowy Targ Basin, Western Carpathians, Poland
Lemanik, A., Baca, M., Wertz, K., Socha, P., Popović, D., Tomek, T., ... & Nadachowski, A.
Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12(3), 1-21
Ancestors of domestic cats in Neolithic Central Europe: Isotopic evidence of a synanthropic diet
Krajcarz, M., Krajcarz, M. T., Baca, M., Baumann, C., Van Neer, W., Popović, D., ... & Bocherens, H.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(30), 17710-17719
2000-year-old pathogen genomes reconstructed from metagenomic analysis of Egyptian mummified individuals
Neukamm, J., Pfrengle, S., Molak, M., Seitz, A., Francken, M., Eppenberger, P., ... & Schuenemann, V. J.
BMC biology, 18(1), 1-18
New ancient Eastern European Yersinia pestis genomes illuminate the dispersal of plague in Europe
Morozova, I., Kasianov, A., Bruskin, S., Neukamm, J., Molak, M., Batieva, E., ... & Schuenemann, V. J.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 375(1812), 20190569
Ancient DNA and Genetic Engineering
Węgleński, P.
Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
The role of the GATA transcription factor AreB in regulation of nitrogen and carbon metabolism in Aspergillus nidulans
Chudzicka-Ormaniec, P., Macios, M., Koper, M., Weedall, G. D., Caddick, M. X., Weglenski, P., & Dzikowska, A.
FEMS Microbiology Letters
Highly divergent lineage of narrow-headed vole from the Late Pleistocene Europe
Baca, M., Popović, D., Lemanik, A., Baca, K., Horáček, I., & Nadachowski, A.
Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-10.
Microsatellite multiplexes for the genetic analyses of northern pike (Esox lucius) populations
Płecha, M., Panagiotopoulou, H., Popović, D., Michalska-Parda, A., Gromadka, R., Węgleński, P., & Stanković, A
Fisheries & Aquatic Life, 27(1), 33-40
Human-mediated dispersal of cats in the Neolithic Central Europe
Baca, M., Popović, D., Panagiotopoulou, H., Marciszak, A., Krajcarz, M., Krajcarz, M. T., ... & Nadachowski, A. (2018).
Heredity, 1
Impact of climate and humans on the range dynamics of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) in Europe during MIS 2
Nadachowski, A., Lipecki, G., Baca, M., Żmihorski, M., & Wilczyński, J.
Quaternary Research, 90(3), 439-456
The history of Crimean red deer population and Cervus phylogeography in Eurasia
Doan, K., Mackiewicz, P., Sandoval-Castellanos, E., Stefaniak, K., Ridush, B., Dalén, L., . . . & Stankovic, A.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 183(1), 208-225.
Microsatellite Mutation Rate in Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus)
Panagiotopoulou, H., Austin, J. D., Zalewska, K., Gonciarz, M., Czarnogórska, K., Gawor, J., Węgleński, P., Popović, D. (2017).
Journal of Heredity, 108(6), 686-692.
Impact of climatic changes in the Late Pleistocene on migrations and extinction of mammals in Europe: four case studies
Baca, M., Nadachowski, A., Lipecki, G., Mackiewicz, P., Marciszak, A., Popović, D., Socha, P., Stefaniak, K. and Wojtal, P., (2017).
Geological Quarterly, 61(2), pp.291-304.
Inter‐and intraspecific variation in the surface pattern of the dermal bones of two sturgeon species.
Thieren, E., Ottoni, C., Popović, D., & Van Neer, W. (2016).
Journal of applied ichthyology, 32(4), 609-628.
Synchronous genetic turnovers across Western Eurasia in Late Pleistocene collared lemmings.
Palkopoulou, E., Baca, M., Abramson, N. I., Sablin, M., Socha, P., Nadachowski, A., ... & Węgleński, P. (2016).
Global change biology, 22(5), 1710-1721.
Introgression of peled (Coregonuspeled) into European whitefish (C. lavaretus) in Poland.
Popović, D., Szczepkowski, M., Heese, T., & Weglenski, P. (2016).
Conservation genetics 17, no. 2 (2016): 503-508.
Inter- and intraspecific variation in the surface pattern of the dermal bones of two sturgeon species.
Thieren, E., Ottoni, C., Popović, D., & Van Neer, W. (2016).
Journal of applied ichthyology, 32(4), 609-628.
Retreat and extinction of the Late Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus spelaeus sensu lato)
Baca, M., Popović, D., Stefaniak, K., Marciszak, A., Urbanowski, M., Nadachowski, A., & Mackiewicz, P. (2016)
The Science of Nature, 103(11-12), 92.
Genetic structure and diversity of breeding Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygarus) in Europe
Rutkowski, R., Krupiński, D., Kitowski, I., Popović, D., Gryczyńska, A., Molak, M., ... & Gierach, K. D. (2015)
European journal of wildlife research, 61(5), 691-701
Microsatellite multiplex assay for the analysis of Atlantic sturgeon populations.
Panagiotopoulou, H., Popovic, D., Zalewska, K., Weglenski, P., & Stankovic, A. (2014).
Journal of applied genetics, 55(4), 505-510.
Ancient DNA and dating of cave bear remains from Niedźwiedzia Cave suggest early appearance of Ursus ingressus in Sudetes.
Baca, M., Mackiewicz, P., Stankovic, A., Popović, D., Stefaniak, K., Czarnogórska, K., ... & Weglenski, P. (2014).
Quaternary International, 339, 217-223.
Locals, resettlers, and pilgrims: A genetic portrait of three pre‐Columbian Andean populations.
Baca, M., Molak, M., Sobczyk, M., Węgleński, P., & Stankovic, A. (2014)
American journal of physical anthropology, 154(3), 402-412.
The history of sturgeon in the Baltic Sea.
Popović, D., Panagiotopoulou, H., Baca, M., Stefaniak, K., Mackiewicz, P., Makowiecki, D., ... & Stankovic, A. (2014).
Journal of biogeography, 41(8), 1590-1602.
A PCR‐RFLP based test for distinguishing European and Atlantic sturgeons.
Panagiotopoulou, H., Baca, M., Popovic, D., Weglenski, P., & Stankovic, A. (2014).
Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 30(1), 14-17.
A PCR-RFLP based test for distinguishing European and Atlantic Sturgeons
Panagiotopoulou, H., Baca, M., Popovic, D., Weglenski, P., & Stankovic, A. (2014).
Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 30(1), 14-17.
Restitution of vimba (Vimba vimba, Cyprinidae) in Poland: genetic variability of existing and restored populations.
Popovic, D., Panagiotopoulou, H., Kleszcz, M., Baca, M., Rutkowski, R., Heese, T., ... & Stankovic, A. (2013).
Ichthyological research, 60(2), 149-158.
Ancient DNA reveals kinship burial patterns of a pre-Columbian Andean community.
Baca, M., Doan, K., Sobczyk, M., Stankovic, A., & Węgleński, P. (2012).
BMC genetics, 13(1), 30.
Genetic analysis of cave bear specimens from Niedźwiedzia Cave, Sudetes, Poland.
Baca, M., Doan, K., Sobczyk, M., Stankovic, A., & Węgleński, P. (2012).
BMC genetics, 13(1), 30.
The GATA factors AREA and AREB together with the co-repressor NMRA, negatively regulate arginine catabolism in Aspergillus nidulans in response to nitrogen and carbon source.
Macios, M., Caddick, M. X., Weglenski, P., Scazzocchio, C., & Dzikowska, A. (2012).
Fungal genetics and biology, 49(3), 189-198.