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Ancient DNA: Phylogenetic Applications

  1. Michael Knapp,
  2. Linda Vigilant,
  3. Michael Hofreiter

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005143.pub2



How to Cite

Knapp, M., Vigilant, L. and Hofreiter, M. 2008. Ancient DNA: Phylogenetic Applications. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 MAY 2014)


Studies of ancient human deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) attempt to shed light on the genetic relationships among individuals representing archaic or extinct human populations, and between these individuals and modern humans. These studies are limited by several factors, including the contamination of ancient samples with modern human DNA, the limited availability of nuclear DNA and difficulties in interpretation of results, due to the fact that modern, typically geographically defined human populations are not associated with diagnostic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences.


  • early humans;
  • evolution;
  • migration;
  • Neanderthals