Skip to main content

Ancient Epigenomics

  • Chapter
  • First Online:

Part of the book series: Population Genomics ((POGE))


Recent molecular and computational advances in ancient DNA research have revealed that genome-scale epigenetic information can be retrieved from subfossil material. In fact, it appears that particular features of the chromatin, and its regulatory epigenetic marks at the time of death, are preserved within ancient DNA extracts. The characterization of this additional layer of information, which represents an interface between the genome and the environment and is not coded within modifications of the DNA sequence itself, opens new horizons for ancient DNA research. At the individual level, ancient epigenetic marks can provide novel molecular phenotypes of the age at death, diet restriction, and other stress conditions, including sociocultural changes. At the population level, they can complement classical inference based on genetic information to reveal the regulatory changes underlying divergence, speciation, and extinction. Exploiting such information will nonetheless be challenging, due to the nature of epigenetic data, which can vary across cell types, tissues, sex, and age, and be significantly influenced by genetic variation and environmental exposure.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 169.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ludovic Orlando .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Hanghøj, K., Orlando, L. (2018). Ancient Epigenomics. In: Lindqvist, C., Rajora, O. (eds) Paleogenomics. Population Genomics. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics