Fossils have been extremely useful in efforts to reconstruct the past, but recently the analysis of ancient DNA (aDNA) has taken off. Parducci et al. describe the value of lake sediments as sources of ancient DNA from which to gain insights into the plant populations of ancient times. Lakes are found all over the world, collect DNA from large areas, and retain the DNA in age-correlated layers. Sources of aDNA in sediments, best practices for handling sediment samples to avoid contamination, and bioinformatics tools are discussed. New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.14470
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