Monday, September 26, 2011
Archaeological research attempting to isolate ancient DNA from skeletal material has met with many difficulties. The issues of preservation, high potential for false negatives, and varied depositional environments have all proved to be confounding factors when attempting to extract genetic material from ancient remains. This study utilizes PCR analysis to measure (mt)DNA quantities in various hard tissues in ancient human and bovid material in order to determine the most promising regions of bone for this type of analysis. They found that using a low speed drill as opposed to high speed drilling or bone pulverization yielded significantly more (mt)DNA. In addition, they found that tooth cementum, as opposed to the more commonly utilized tooth dentin yielded the most (mt)DNA. Finally they found that different types of skeletal material exhibit consistent patterns of exponential fragmentation across varied types of depositional environments.