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Authenticated DNA from Ancient Wood Remains
- LIEPELT, SASCHA, SPERISEN, CHRISTOPH, DEGUILLOUX, MARIE-FRANCE, PETIT, REMY J., KISSLING, ROY, SPENCER, MATTHEW, DE BEAULIEU, JACQUES-LOUIS, TABERLET, PIERRE, GIELLY, LUDOVIC, ZIEGENHAGEN, BIRGIT
- Annals of botany 2006 v.98 no.5 pp. 1107-1111
- Pinus, Quercus, forest trees, Fagus, Abies, old and fossil wood, DNA fingerprinting, genetic variation, introns, paleobotany, France, Italy, Switzerland
- BACKGROUND: The reconstruction of biological processes and human activities during the last glacial cycle relies mainly on data from biological remains. Highly abundant tissues, such as wood, are candidates for a genetic analysis of past populations. While well-authenticated DNA has now been recovered from various fossil remains, the final 'proof' is still missing for wood, despite some promising studies. Scope The goal of this study was to determine if ancient wood can be analysed routinely in studies of archaeology and palaeogenetics. An experiment was designed which included blind testing, independent replicates, extensive contamination controls and rigorous statistical tests. Ten samples of ancient wood from major European forest tree genera were analysed with plastid DNA markers. CONCLUSIONS: Authentic DNA was retrieved from wood samples up to 1000 years of age. A new tool for real-time vegetation history and archaeology is ready to use.