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Association between ancient bone preservation and dna yield: A multidisciplinary approach

Authors


Correspondence to: Cecilia Sosa, Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary, University of Zaragoza, C/Miguel Servet 177, Zaragoza 50013, Spain. E-mail: cecis@unizar.es

ABSTRACT

Ancient molecular typing depends on DNA survival in archaeological bones. Finding valuable tools to predict DNA presence in ancient samples, which can be measured prior to undertaking a genetic study, has become an important issue as a consequence of the peculiarities of archaeological samples. Since the survival of DNA is explained by complex interrelations of multiple variables, the aim of the present study was to analyze morphological, structural, chemical, and biological aspects of a set of medieval human bones, to provide an accurate reflection of the state of preservation of the bony components and to relate it with DNA presence. Archaeological bones that yielded amplifiable DNA presented high collagen content (generally more than 12%), low racemization values of aspartic acid (lesser than 0.08), leucine and glutamic acid, low infrared splitting factor, small size of crystallite, and more compact appearance of bone in the scanning electron micrographs. Whether these patterns are characteristic of ancient bones or specific of each burial site or specimen requires further investigation. Am J Phys Anthropol 151:102–109, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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