The University of Reading is funding a novel project to travel back to the Middle Age of our oral microbiome. The research group from Dr Mary Lewis, from the department of Archaeology, and the ClausLab are joining strengths to investigate the fragments of microbial DNA found in the dental plaques of individuals who lived during early, late and post medieval times. The DNA from these bacteria can survive over time because it is preserved within the calculus of the teeth.
This project is supported by Elliot Morgan and Marianne Trichard, who have optimised a DNA extraction method to recover ancient DNA from the calculus, avoiding contamination with modern DNA, that will be then analysed using Next Generation Sequencing techniques. The results from this research will allow us to understand better how the microbiome of our mouth has changed over the last centuries, and dig deeper into oral microbial health and disease.