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Polish and Swedish scientists will collaborate on DNA analysis

28.09.2017 Nature

Photo: Fotolia

Scholars from the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin and the Uppsala University in Sweden will work together on the analysis of genetic material - fossil DNA. A letter of intent concerning the cooperation between the two universities was signed on Friday in Szczecin.

Pomeranian Medical University starts cooperation with Prof. Marie Allen, who heads the Rudbeck Laboratory at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University in Sweden.


"Professor Marie Allen, who has been working on fossil DNA for many years, is best known for her genetic research concerning Nicolaus Copernicus" - said Andrzej Ossowski, MD, PhD from the Medical University of Pomerania. Research conducted in Uppsala confirmed that the skull found at the altar in the Frombork cathedral belonged to the astronomer. The comparative material was the hair found in one of the books that belonged to Copernicus.


Ossowski emphasised that Prof. Allen had also conducted research on Vikings from Valsgaerde in Uppland and from Salme Island in Estonia. "We hope that our cooperation will enable us to study skeletal sites from many historical periods, which will expand our knowledge of the Baltic Sea area" - he noted.


So far, Dr. Ossowski's team has conducted historical studies with the museum in Stargard on the medieval population in Lubin on Wolin Island.


"Genetics is a rapidly developing science and we have to keep up with that development. Cooperation with Prof. Maria Allen and Prof. Walther Parson (geneticist from the US - PAP) allows us to count on scientific and technological development. We also have more opportunities to acquire European funds" - Dr. Ossowski explained.


According to Prof. Marie Allen, Szczecin scientists "conduct high quality genetic research and international cooperation is needed to keep their high standards".


Vice-Rector for Teaching at the Pomeranian Medical University, Prof. Barbara Dołęgowska emphasized that "cooperation with an undisputed world-class researcher in the field of mitochondrial DNA research is a huge honour for the university".


Collaboration with Swedish scientists is also expected to facilitate the search work conducted by the Polish Genetic Database of the Victims of Totalitarianism, coordinated by Dr. Andrzej Ossowski.


Polish Genetic Database of the Victims of Totalitarianism in Szczecin was founded in 2012. It is a joint project of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin and the Institute of National Remembrance. It carries out genetic identification of victims of communist crimes exhumed at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw and victims of totalitarian crimes from 1939-1953, exhumed in Białystok. At the same time, comparative genetic material of relatives of victims of the Augustów roundup is being collected on a large scale.


The database has so far accumulated material from the remains of almost 800 victims, and in 300 cases reliable genetic profiles have been obtained. It also stores comparative DNA samples from nearly 1,500 relatives of victims. About 70 victims have already been identified, including Hieronim Dekutowski "Zapora", Danuta Siedzikówna "Inka" and Zygmunt Szendzielarz "Łupaszka". (PAP)


PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland


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