An international team of scholars has pooled their expertise to generate the largest study of ancient DNA published to date. Michael Frachetti, professor of archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, is co-senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Science.

Genome-wide DNA information was ethically sourced from 523 ancient humans at archaeological sites across the Near East and Central and South Asia.

The ancient DNA data, combined with linguistic, archaeological, and modern-day genetic data, has the potential to shed new light on the evolution of ancient southern and central Asian populations.

The study has increased the worldwide total of published ancient genomes by a whopping 25%. It also addresses a huge gap in the world’s ancient-DNA dataset, which previously was almost entirely centered on Europe.