Like modern metagenomics, ancient metagenomics is a highly data-rich discipline, with the added challenge that the DNA of interest is degraded and, depending on the sample type, in low abundance. This requires the application of specialized measures during molecular experiments and computational analyses. Furthermore, researchers often work with finite sample sizes, which impedes optimal experimental design and control of confounding factors, and with ethically sensitive samples necessitating the consideration of additional guidelines. In September 2020, early career researchers in the field of ancient metagenomics met (Standards, Precautions & Advances in Ancient Metagenomics 2 [SPAAM2] community meeting) to discuss the state of the field and how to address current challenges. Here, in an effort to bridge the gap between ancient and modern metagenomics, we highlight and reflect upon some common misconceptions, provide a brief overview of the challenges in our field, and point toward useful resources for potential reviewers and newcomers to the field.
Open access publication.