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The Henry Wellcome Genetics Laboratories


The Henry Wellcome Genetics Labs


The HW Genetics labs are located in the Henry Wellcome Building, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Fitzwilliam Street, CB2 1QH. The labs are directed by Dr. Toomas Kivisild with technical support from Emma Devereux. Members include senior research associates, doctoral and masters students.

There are two separate labs, one designed for the work on ancient and the other for modern DNA. The ancient DNA and modern DNA facilities are within the same building but physically separated and accessible via different entrances.

Research in the modern DNA labs has focused on genome-wide analyses of genetic variation in present-day human populations from across the world as well as analyses of non-human primates. The labs have two laminar flow hoods, an autoclave for the shared use in the Department, equipment for storage and extraction of DNA from blood and saliva, for quantifying DNA and hormones, bench-space for preparing plates of samples for genotyping and sequencing, and a gel imaging room for post-PCR work. The lab hosts the Mourant collection of lysed blood cells from more than 17,000 individuals.

The ancient DNA facilities are shared by the groups led by Dr Toomas Kivisild (Archaeology) and Prof Eske Willerslev (Zoology). Both groups have worked on ancient DNA from a wide range of Old and New World populations. Prof Willerslev has led the team sequencing the first mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of ancient modern humans. The cleanroom facilities can be accessed by a separate entrance and are fully equipped for extraction and primary processing of ancient DNA.