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Journal Article

A systematic investigation of human DNA preservation in medieval skeletons

MPS-Authors
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Parker,  Edward Cody
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Rohrlach,  Adam Ben
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Krause,  Johannes
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;
MHAAM, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Bos,  Kirsten I.
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Haak,  Wolfgang
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Supplementary Information 1.
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Supplementary Information 2.
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Citation

Parker, E. C., Rohrlach, A. B., Friederich, S., Nagel, S., Meyer, M., Krause, J., et al. (2020). A systematic investigation of human DNA preservation in medieval skeletons. Scientific Reports, 10(1): 18225. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-75163-w.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5B50-9
Abstract
Ancient DNA (aDNA) analyses necessitate the destructive sampling of archaeological material. Currently, the cochlea, part of the osseous inner ear located inside the petrous pyramid, is the most sought after skeletal element for molecular analyses of ancient humans as it has been shown to yield high amounts of endogenous DNA. However, destructive sampling of the petrous pyramid may not always be possible, particularly in cases where preservation of skeletal morphology is of top priority. To investigate alternatives, we present a survey of human aDNA preservation for each of ten skeletal elements in a skeletal collection from Medieval Germany. Through comparison of human DNA content and quality we confirm best performance of the petrous pyramid and identify seven additional sampling locations across four skeletal elements that yield adequate aDNA for most applications in human palaeogenetics. Our study provides a better perspective on DNA preservation across the human skeleton and takes a further step toward the more responsible use of ancient materials in human aDNA studies.