Welcome to Axel Barlow’s

Pleistocene Genomics Lab

We use palaeogenomics to study the evolution and ecology of Pleistocene animals that lived tens of thousands of years ago!

Latest News

New paper: defining dwarfing rate of an extinct dwarf elephant!

We used ancient DNA from an extinct Sicilian to define its dwarfing rates. Mediterranean dwarf elephants are small-bodied descendants from one of the largest land mammals ever lived! Using ancient DNA, palaeontological and geochronological evidence to define the maximum and minimum dwarfing rate of a Sicilian dwarf elephant from Puntali cave. Published in Current Biology: …

New paper: ancient DNA from museum wet collection specimens!

We extracted DNA from a range of wet collection samples, and show the success of this approach to open the DNA archive of museum wet collections! Published in Molecular Ecology Resources: Straube, N., Lyra, M. L., Paijmans, J. L. A., Preick, M., Basler, N., Penner, J., Rödel, M.-O., Westbury, M. V., Haddad, C. F. B., …

New paper on Middle Pleistocene cave bear!

We sequenced a Middle Pleistocene cave bear about 360,000 years old! Published in Current Biology: Barlow A, Paijmans JLA, Alberti F, Gasparyan B, Bar-Oz G, Pinhasi R, Foronova I, Puzachenko AY, Pacher M, Dalén L, Baryshnikov G, Hofreiter M (2021) Middle Pleistocene genome calibrates a revised evolutionary history of extinct cave bears. Current Biology, in …


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Research Themes


We collect genomic data from ancient subfossil bones to study the evolution and ecology of Pleistocene animals. Find out more

Laboratory methods

Our work also involves the development and optimisation of new laboratory methods for recovering palaeogenomic data. Find out more


We also develop new computational and statistical methods for the analysis of palaeogenomic data. Find out more

Museum samples

We are also interested in the genomic analysis of historical museum specimens as a way of sampling endangered and recently extinct animals. Find out more


We also generate datasets for phylogenetic analysis and molecular dating. Find out more

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