Ancient DNA refers to DNA which can be recovered and analyzed from clinical, museum, archaeological and paleontological specimens. Ancient DNA ranges in age from less than 100 years to tens of millions of years. The study of ancient DNA is a young field, but it has been revolutionized by the application of polymerase chain reaction technology, and interest is growing very rapidly. Fields as diverse as evolution, anthropology, medicine, agriculture, and even law enforcement have quickly found applications in the recovery of ancient DNA. This book contains contributions from many of the "first generation" researchers who pioneered the development and application of ancient DNA methods. Their chapters present the protocols and precautions which have resulted in the remarkable results obtained in recent years. The range of subjects reflects the wide diversity of applications that are emerging in research on ancient DNA, including the study of DNA to analyze kinship, recovery of DNA from organisms trapped in amber, ancient DNA from human remains preserved in a variety of locations and conditions, DNA recovered from herbarium and museum specimens, and DNA isolated from ancient plant seeds or compression fossils. Ancient DNA will serve as a valuable source of information, ideas, and protocols for anyone interested in this extraordinary field.
1 Introduction.- Access to Kinship and Evolution.- DNA Fingerprinting.- 2 Simple Repeat Loci as Tools for Genetic Identification.- Evolutionary Analysis.- 3 Spatial and Temporal Aspects of Populations Revealed by Mitochondrial DNA.- Sample Preparation and Analysis.- 4 General Aspects of Sample Preparation.- Fixed and Embedded Samples.- 5 Screening for Pathogenic DNA Sequences in Clinically Collected Human Tissues.- 6 DNA from Amber Inclusions.- Wet Samples.- 7 DNA Analysis of the Windover Population.- Frozen Samples.- 8 DNA from Arctic Human Burials.- Dried Samples: Body Fluids.- 9 DNA Typing of Biological Evidence Material.- Dried Samples: Soft Tissues.- 10 DNA from Museum Specimens.- 11 DNA from Herbarium Specimens.- 12 High-Fidelity Amplification of Ribosomal Gene Sequences from South American Mummies.- Dried Samples: Hard Tissues.- 13 Mitochondrial DNA from Ancient Bones.- 14 Y-Chromosomal DNA from Ancient Bones.- 15 Genomic DNA from Museum Bird Feathers.- 16 DNA and RNA from Ancient Plant Seeds.- Fossil Samples.- 17 DNA from Plant Compression Fossils.