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Keywords:

  • ANCIENT BACTERIAL DNA;
  • ORAL MICROBIOME;
  • MICRO-EVOLUTION;
  • CO-EVOLUTION

We report a molecular methodology to obtain and analyse ancient bacterial DNA from archaeological dental calculus. Recent and archaeological DNA samples, as old as 4000 bp, were successfully extracted and amplified with species-specific PCR primers. We propose this approach in order to: detect the presence of specific bacterial species infecting past human populations; compare the composition of ancient oral microbiomes among human populations; and analyse the genetic variability and covariation of bacteria and human host populations. Genomic analysis of bacteria from dental calculus is a promising source of evidence for palaeopathological and micro-evolutionary studies, focused either on micro-organisms or their human hosts.