Ancient DNA and Family Relationships in a Pompeian House

Authors

  • Giovanni Di Bernardo,

    1. Department of Experimental Medicine, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Section, 2nd University of Naples, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
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  • Stefania Del Gaudio,

    1. Department of Experimental Medicine, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Section, 2nd University of Naples, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
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  • Umberto Galderisi,

    1. Department of Experimental Medicine, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Section, 2nd University of Naples, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
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  • Antonino Cascino,

    1. Department of Experimental Medicine, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Section, 2nd University of Naples, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
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  • Marilena Cipollaro

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Experimental Medicine, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Section, 2nd University of Naples, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy
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*Corresponding author: Marilena Cipollaro, Department of Experimental Medicine, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Section “Antonino Cascino” 2nd University of Naples, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy. Tel: ++390815667508; Fax: ++390815667547; E-mail: marilena.cipollaro@unina2.it

Summary

Archaeological, anthropological and pathological data suggest that thirteen skeletons found in a house at the Pompeii archaeological site, dated to 79 A.D., belong to one family. To verify this and to identify the relationships between these individuals, we analyzed DNA extracted from bone specimens. Specifically, hypervariable segment 1 (HVS1) of the human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region was amplified in two overlapping polymerase chain reactions and the sequences were compared to the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence. As independent controls, other polymorphic sites in HVS1, HVS2 and in the coding region were analyzed. We also amplified some short tandem repeats of the thirteen specimens. This study revealed that six of the thirteen individuals are indeed closely related.

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