Ancient DNA Lab

The Ancient DNA Lab provides support for researchers working with ancient, historical, forensic, or other sensitive (low DNA quantity/quality) genetic samples. Established by the School of Forestry’s Carol Chambers and Faith Walker in 2016, the Ancient DNA Lab is physically isolated from other genetics labs on campus and adheres to rigorous quality control measures to prevent contamination, both of which are internationally recognized standards for the early stages of ancient DNA handling and processing.

The facility is designed for situations where DNA yield or quality is expected to be low and risk of contamination from other tissues or ambient DNA is high. It provides a high-containment environment, with a sterile work chamber, dead air box for bone drilling or other sample preparation, ultraviolet decontamination capability, and an ultra-low temperature freezer for sample preservation and storage.

We have the capacity for paleo, archeological, environmental, and highly degraded nucleic acid extraction and purification from samples sourced from museums or the field. To date, projects include DNA extraction from ancient mammals (10,000 year old bat, 8,500 year old bison) and microbes, and sediment cores. Researchers across NAU and northern Arizona are encouraged to make use of this facility. Walker and her team train prospective users on ancient DNA protocols and techniques relevant to their projects.


Faith Walker, Assistant Research Faculty, School of Forestry;

Colin Sobek, Research Specialist, School of Forestry;

Carol Chambers, Professor, School of Forestry;