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Crete Plans DNA Laboratory

A pioneering laboratory on “ancient DNA”, unique in Greece, which will contribute to international research, will start operating on Crete, where researchers of the Institute for Research Technology (IRT) and archaeologists will work to shed "light" on the historical continuity of the population of Crete, the origin of Minoans, and over time all inhabitants of the island, nd also the wealth and the origins of the Cretan diet.

The Region of Crete gave the “green light” for the establishment and operation of the specialized laboratory through the signing of a framework agreement between the Region of Crete governor Stavros Arnaoutakis and Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Nektarios Tavernarakis.
The project is funded by the region to the amount of 80,000 euros, while present at the signing of the contract were: Dimitris Kafetzopoulos, researcher at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Athanasia Kanta, honorary archeological ephor, and IRT scientific collaborator Minas Tsikritzis.
"This is a laboratory that will offer greatly to science. We are delighted to be working once again with scientists, archaeologists, and the IRT. I would like to emphasize that the next time there will be important announcements for further cooperation with our research and scientific institutions in view of the new programming period 2014-2020, "said the Crete governor Stavros Arnaoutakis.
On his part, the director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Nektarios Tavernarakis said: "The scientific work we undertake is extremely important and will become cutting-edge research which “weds” culture with science.”
Referring to the role of the laboratory, researcher at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Dimitris Kafetzopoulos noted that "this scientific activity will allow us to collect new data that will shed light on the origin and ancestry of the population not only our own, but all of Greece, and to connect such an initiative with a corresponding large European movement whose purpose is to set up a pan-European network for such an infrastructure. "
Mr. Kafetzopoulos stressed that for the first time in Greece a specialized laboratory for the analysis of ancient DNA is established. "Unfortunately, what we see are samples of the rich archaeological research done in our country being sent abroad for analysis, which costs money and reduces recognition for Greek institutions. We will try to move quickly and the laboratory will be fully operational by year's end. Making these analyses we can learn, for example, what illnesses our ancestors had, find pathogenic problems, ancestral populations, the population composition of cities, etc. So this technology opens an important window into the past. "
Honorary ephor Athanasia Kanta underlined that “we designed this lab over the years and we are very pleased that it has been realized. It was something that we really needed in Greece. We can flesh out our research not only with the human DNA, but also, I hope, with the DNA of animals, even seeds, because it will give us more information. We have many samples from all over Greece and soon the laboratory, we hope, will have ample results.”