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Sina Baleka

Magister Artium in Anthropology, 2012, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany

Research interests
My PhD-thesis focuses on the molecular phylogeny of different extinct species of Proboscidea. Except for morphological data, there is hardly any molecular evidence confirming the phylogenetic relationships between different species within the order of Proboscidea. Part of the problem lies in the geographical distribution of these species, which are often found in temperate or even subtropical regions. This means that the samples I’m working on are highly degraded. Therefore the research methods I use include a variety of lab methods adapted to work with ancient DNA, including NGS methods, as well as the bioinformatic analysis of NGS sequencing data.


  • Palkopoulou, E., Lipson, M., Mallick, S., Nielsen, S., Rohland, N., Baleka, S., Karpinski, E., Ivancevic, A.M., To,T.-H., Kortschak, R.D., Raison, J.M., Qu, Z., Chin, T.-J., Alt, K.W., Claesson, S., Dalén, L., MacPhee, R.D.E., Meller, H., Roca, A.L., Ryder, O.A., Heiman, D., Young, S., Breen, M., Williams, C., Aken, B.L., Ruffier, M., Karlsson, E., Johnson, J., Di Palma, F., Alfoldi, J., Adelson, D.L., Mailund, T., Munch, K., Lindblad-Toh, K., Hofreiter, M., Poinar, H. and Reich, D. (2018) A comprehensive genomic history of extinct and living elephants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201720554 (doi:10.1073/pnas.1720554115).
  • Paijmans, J.L.A., Baleka, S., Henneberger, K., Taron, U.H., Trinks, A., Westbury, M.V., & Barlow, A. (2017) Sequencing single-stranded libraries on the Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. arXiv preprint (arXiv:1711.11004).
  • Westbury, M.V., Baleka, S.,Barlow, A., Hartmann, S., Paijmans, J.L.A., Kramarz, A., Forasiepi, A.M., Bond, M., Gelfo, J.N., Reguero, M.A., Mendoza, P.L., Taglioretti, M., Scaglia, F., Rinderknecht, A., Jones, W., Mena, F., Billet, G., de Muizon, C., Aguilar, J.L., MacPhee, R.D.E. and Hofreiter, M. (2017) A mitogenomic timetree for Darwin’s enigmatic South American mammal Macrauchenia patachonica. Nature communications, 8, 15951 (doi:10.1038/ncomms15951)
  • Meyer, M., Palkopoulou, E., Baleka, S., Stiller, M., Penkman, K.E.H., Alt, K.W., Ishida, Y., Mania, D., Mallick, S., Meijer, T., Meller, H., Nagel, S., Nickel, B., Ostritz, S.,Rohland, N., Schauer, K., Schüler, T., Roca, A.L., Reich, D., Shapiro, B. and Hofreiter, M. (2017) Palaeogenomes of Eurasian straight-tusked elephants challenge the current view of elephant evolution. Elife, 6, e25413 (doi:10.7554/eLife.25413).
  • Claesson, S., Baleka, S., Hofreiter, M., and Widga, C. (2017) The contribution of Late Pleistocene megafauna finds to submerged archaeology and the interpretation of ancient coastal landscapes. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 15, 290-298. (doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.08.007)
  • Baleka, S., Reese, D.S., and Hofreiter, M. (2016). Preliminary results of the genetic analysis of a bronze age elephant tusk. In von Rüden, C., Georgiou, A., Jacobs, A. and Halstead P. (Eds.), Feasting, Craft and Depositional Practice in Late Bronze Age Palaepaphos (pp. 369-373). Rahden/Westf.: Leidorf.