Ancient DNA: Do It Right or Not at All

  title={Ancient DNA: Do It Right or Not at All},
  author={Amanda Cooper and Hendrik N. Poinar},
  pages={1139 - 1139}
At the recent 5th International Ancient DNA Conference in Manchester, U.K., reported by Erik Stokstad in his News Focus article “Divining diet and disease from DNA” (28 Jul., p. [530][1]), one presentation boldly opened with the claim that the field was now mature and could move ahead with 
Ancient DNA: the first three decades
The molecular cloning of a small fragment of DNA from a piece of dry tissue of a quagga, an extinct member of the horse family, was reported 30 years ago and several hundred scientists would meet at The Royal Society.
Ancient DNA Methodology: Thoughts from Brian M. Kemp and David Glenn Smith on “Mitochondrial DNA of Protohistoric Remains of an Arikara Population from South Dakota”
This is an article accepted for publication in Human Biology, volume 82, 2010, following peer review and is available from Wayne State University Press.
Ancient DNA: Would the Real Neandertal Please Stand up?
Ongoing Controversy over Romanov Remains
The field of ancient DNA analysis has faced numerous obstacles and setbacks in its path to legitimacy. Yet another setback was showcased in the news story “Buried, recovered, lost again? The Romanovs
Research on ancient DNA in the Near East
The basic concepts, methodologies, and recent developments in the fi eld of ancient DNA studies with a special refe- rence to the Near East are reviewed.
Authenticity in ancient DNA studies.
The problems associated with aDNA studies are outlined, and potential guidelines designed so as to enable non-specialist readers the opportunity to critically assess the quality of aDNA publications are presented.
Ancient DNA: Curse of the Pharaoh's DNA
Some researchers claim to have analysed DNA from Egyptian mummies. Others say that's impossible. Could new sequencing methods bridge the divide?
Ancient DNA: the next generation – chapter and verse
This is a short review of what has been, what may come, and how the impact of NGS technologies on the field has influenced aDNA.


Problems of reproducibility – does geologically ancient DNA survive in amber–preserved insects?
Attempts to reproduce DNA sequences from amber– and copal–preserved bees and flies have failed to detect any authentic ancient insect DNA, suggesting that DNA does not survive over millions of years even in amber, the most promising of fossil environments.
A molecular handle on the Neanderthals
There was a period of more than 500,000 years during which Neanderthals and the line leading to modern humans evolved independently, according to sequencing of mitochondrial DNA from Neanderthal fossil bone.
Amino Acid Racemization and the Preservation of Ancient DNA
In samples in which the D/L ratio of aspartic acid exceeds 0.08, ancient DNA sequences could not be retrieved and Paleontological finds from which DNA sequences purportedly millions of years old show extensive racemization, and the amino acids present are mainly contaminates.
The retrieval of ancient human DNA sequences.
These results show that more experimental work than is often applied is necessary to ensure that DNA sequences amplified from ancient human remains are authentic and quantitation of the numbers of amplifiable molecules is a useful tool to determine the role of contaminating contemporary molecules and PCR errors in amplifications from ancient DNA.
DNA sequence from Cretaceous period bone fragments.
DNA isolated from 80-million-year-old bone fragments found in strata of the Upper Cretaceous Blackhawk Formation in the roof of an underground coal mine in eastern Utah demonstrates that small fragments of DNA may survive in bone for millions of years.
Genomic differentiation of Neanderthals and anatomically modern man allows a fossil-DNA-based classification of morphologically indistinguishable hominid bones.
The genome of Neanderthals is expected to differ significantly from the genome of anatomically modern man, because of the contrasting composition of repetitive DNA.
Protein preservation and DNA retrieval from ancient tissues.
  • H. Poinar, B. Stankiewicz
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1999
Flash pyrolysis with GC and MS offers a rapid and effective method for assessing fossils for the possibility of DNA preservation and provides a good index of the amount of peptide hydrolysis and DNA preservation.
Nuclear DNA sequences from late Pleistocene megafauna.
The nuclear sequences retrieved from the mammoths suggest that mammoths were more similar to Asian elephants than to African elephants and under some circumstances, nucleotide sequence differences between alleles found within one individual can be distinguished from DNA sequence variation caused by postmortem DNA damage.
Reply to Stoneking: ancient DNA--how do you really know when you have it?
  • A. Cooper
  • Biology, Medicine
    American journal of human genetics
  • 1997