So, when we are getting closer to the end of the year, this is also when we realize how much vacation we still have to claim from the university, and thus there is always a period in November when several take a week or so off. People are gradually returning now, and if the offices are empty these days, it is because people are working in the laboratories. At the moment, several of the hard-core aDNA researchers are still gone, but most of the other categories are back on the floor. And now is the time to concentrate on the things we really need to get done before Christmas-vacation.
One thing that I am happy to notice here is an increased interest in sex-identifications. There are thoughts in the department one floor down, the osteologists, to exploit this possibility. Which is good because it is an area that is forgiving of shortage in population-genetic competence. Our facility is presently located in an archaeology department, and the interaction can be complicated by the down-stream genomic analyses. It is not harder to learn large-scale population genetics than any other discipline, but it also takes as much time. And I guess doing a demographic aDNA study without any knowledge on population genetics would be like starting an archaeological excavation without knowing anything at all about any kind of archaeology. My guess is that things like biological sex-identifications, where it is only about checking what sex-chromosomes are present, can bridge this gap.
If Robert is lonely in the office, it is because people like Irene are in the laboratory