Jump to Main Content
How have studies of ancient DNA from sediments contributed to the reconstruction of Quaternary floras?
- Birks, H. John B., Birks, Hilary H.
- The new phytologist 2016 v.209 no.2 pp. 499-506
- DNA, digestive system, fauna, flora, fossils, lakes, paleobotany, peat, permafrost, pollen, sediments
- 499 I. 499 II. 500 III. 500 IV. 500 V. 500 VI. 501 VII. 502 VIII. 504 504 References 505 SUMMARY: Ancient DNA (aDNA) from lake sediments, peats, permafrost soils, preserved megafaunal gut contents and coprolites has been used to reconstruct late‐Quaternary floras. aDNA is either used alone for floristic reconstruction or compared with pollen and/or macrofossil results. In comparative studies, aDNA may complement pollen and macrofossil analyses by increasing the number of taxa found. We discuss the relative contributions of each fossil group to taxon richness and the number of unique taxa found, and situations in which aDNA has refined pollen identifications. Pressing problems in aDNA studies are contamination and ignorance about taphonomy (transportation, incorporation, and preservation in sediments). Progress requires that these problems are reduced to allow aDNA to reach its full potential contribution to reconstructions of Quaternary floras.