Brief communication: Identification of the authentic ancient DNA sequence in a human bone contaminated with modern DNA
Article first published online: 4 APR 2006
Copyright © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 131, Issue 3, pages 428–431, November 2006
How to Cite
Bouwman, A. S., Chilvers, E. R., Brown, K. A. and Brown, T. A. (2006), Brief communication: Identification of the authentic ancient DNA sequence in a human bone contaminated with modern DNA. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 131: 428–431. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.20411
- Issue published online: 27 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 OCT 2005
- Manuscript Received: 23 FEB 2005
- UK Natural Environment Research Council
- Wellcome Trust
- biomolecular archaeology;
- mitochondrial DNA;
We present a method to distinguish authentic ancient DNA from contaminating DNA in a human bone. This is achieved by taking account of the spatial distribution of the various sequence families within the bone and the extent of degradation of the template DNAs, as revealed by the error content of the sequences. To demonstrate the veracity of the method, we handled two ancient human tibiae in order to contaminate them with modern DNA, and then subjected segments of the bones to various decontaminating treatments, including removal of the outer 1–2 mm, before extracting DNA, cloning, and obtaining a total of 107 mitochondrial DNA sequences. Sequences resulting from the deliberate contamination were located exclusively in the outer 1–2 mm of the bones, and only one of these 27 sequences contained an error that could be ascribed to DNA degradation. A second, much smaller set of relatively error-free sequences, which we ascribe to contamination during excavation or curation, was also located exclusively in the outer 1–2 mm. In contrast, a family of 72 sequences, displaying extensive degradation products but identifiable as haplogroup U5a1a, was distributed throughout one of the bones and represents the authentic ancient DNA content of this specimen. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.