Fu Qiaomei: Leading Researcher in Ancient DNA Study

 November 25, 2020

Fu Qiaomei, a researcher of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was the youngest speaker at a symposium attended by scientists on September 11.

Fu, born in 1984, plays a leading role in ancient DNA research, studying the question of who we are and where we came from through ancient genomes.

After graduating from middle school, Fu followed her father's suggestion to study in a normal school in 1998. "My parents are very honest. They asked me whether I was going to normal (teachers') school or high school. I was ignorant and didn't know what my dream was at the time." Due to that, Fu chose to be a normal school student and follow her parents' will.

Fu should have been a primary school teacher after graduation, which is a decent job in her hometown in East China's Jiangxi Province. However, Fu gave up her teaching job and attended a high school.

She finished high school education in two years and enrolled in the major of protective technology for cultural relics at Northwest University. However, she gave up the opportunity to do postgraduate work and independently passed the entrance exams of the CAS to engage in bone research.

Upon completing her master's degree in 2009, she headed to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany to study for a PhD in ancient human genomics.

Fu's research institute received a major project — to determine the 45,000-year modern human genome in western Siberia in the second half of 2012. Fu became the leader of the project.

When the research institute got the leg bone fossils from 45,000 years ago, Fu had no clear research ideas. Her team had been involved in studying extinct ancient humans before, but determining the first full-genome of early modern humans would be different and more difficult. Although it wasn't easy, Fu still achieved big success in the project.

Fu ended her seven-year life abroad and returned to China at the beginning of 2016, setting out to form an ancient DNA research team in China. Her research has provided important evidence about the formation and evolution of the Chinese nation and the tracing of the roots of Chinese civilization.

In her spare time, Fu especially likes rock climbing as it requires planning routes and focusing on technology and can help people overcome frustration after multiple failures.

"I hope to stick to what I like, and I expect that what I have learned can contribute to the scientific research of the motherland. It is a kind of original intention and a responsibility," said Fu.

Fu Qiaomei: Leading Researcher in Ancient DNA Study
Fu Qiaomei, a researcher of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences [CNSPHOTO/Sun Zifa]

 

(Women of China)

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