Cleanrooms are used for many different things, ranging from building spacecraft to medicines.  Cleanrooms were recently used for genetic studies on ancient Europeans.  This research was conducted at the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and was focused on the relationship between hunter gatherers and ancient farmers.

Bones were found in the Blätterhöhle cave in Westphalia (near Hagen in Germany) which suggests that hunter-gatherers were buried alongside farmers.  The common thinking was that there was transition from these two types of roles, and eventually farmers prevailed.  Dr. Ruth Bollongino, a lead researcher, said this about the discovery:


“It is commonly assumed that the Central European hunter-gatherers disappeared soon after the arrival of farmers, but our study shows that the descendants of Mesolithic Europeans maintained their hunter-gatherer way of life and lived in parallel with the immigrant farmers for at least 2,000 years. The hunter-gathering lifestyle, thus, only died out in Central Europe around 5,000 years ago, much later than previously thought.”


The cleanrooms at the university studied these bones and examined the DNA to make this discovery.  This DNA study marks another great usage of cleanrooms, helping shed light on mysteries several thousand years old.