The experimental degradation of archaeological human bone by anaerobic bacteria and the implications for recovery of ancient DNA

Dixon, Ron and Dawson, Lucy and Taylor, Delia (2008) The experimental degradation of archaeological human bone by anaerobic bacteria and the implications for recovery of ancient DNA. In: The 9th International Conference on Ancient DNA and Associated Biomolecules, 19-22 October 2008, Pompeii, Italy.

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Abstract

DNA recovery from human bone has been key to the developing science and
technology of ancient DNA studies. The recovery of macromolecules from bone
however, does not correlate well with recognisable parameters of preservation and
predicting DNA recovery rates from ancient bone can be very difficult. The extent of
degradation of buried bones often depends on environmental taphonomy and can vary
from virtually none to complete and rapid destruction. Although soil or related
microbes are undoubtedly responsible for the majority of this structural degradation
over time, exceptionally little is known of the mechanisms or specific bacteria
involved. Fungi were previously thought to be responsible for destructive processes
(tunnelling) within bone but over the last 30 years the role of bacteria has been
increasingly recognised. Our aim was to develop a less complex in vitro model of the
destructive effects of microbes on bone which might allow a better understanding of
the recovery of mitochondrial or pathogen DNA over time.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:DNA recovery from human bone has been key to the developing science and technology of ancient DNA studies. The recovery of macromolecules from bone however, does not correlate well with recognisable parameters of preservation and predicting DNA recovery rates from ancient bone can be very difficult. The extent of degradation of buried bones often depends on environmental taphonomy and can vary from virtually none to complete and rapid destruction. Although soil or related microbes are undoubtedly responsible for the majority of this structural degradation over time, exceptionally little is known of the mechanisms or specific bacteria involved. Fungi were previously thought to be responsible for destructive processes (tunnelling) within bone but over the last 30 years the role of bacteria has been increasingly recognised. Our aim was to develop a less complex in vitro model of the destructive effects of microbes on bone which might allow a better understanding of the recovery of mitochondrial or pathogen DNA over time.
Keywords:ancient DNA, recovery bone
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C440 Molecular Genetics
C Biological Sciences > C521 Medical Microbiology
C Biological Sciences > C500 Microbiology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:2660
Deposited By: Ron Dixon
Deposited On:11 Jun 2010 09:07
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:39

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