liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Extensive human DNA contamination in extracts from ancient dog bones and teeth
Malmström, H., Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Storå, J., Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Dalén, L., Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine.
Show others and affiliations
2005 (English)In: Molecular biology and evolution, ISSN 0737-4038, Vol. 22, no 10, 2040-2047 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ancient DNA (aDNA) sequences, especially those of human origin, are notoriously difficult to analyze due to molecular damage and exogenous DNA contamination. Relatively few systematic studies have focused on this problem. Here we investigate the extent and origin of human DNA contamination in the most frequently used sources for aDNA studies, that is, bones and teeth from museum collections. To distinguish contaminant DNA from authentic DNA we extracted DNA from dog (Canis familiaris) specimens. We monitored the presence of a 148-bp human-specific and a 152-bp dog-specific mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) fragment in DNA extracts as well as in negative controls. The total number of human and dog template molecules were quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and the sequences were characterized by amplicon cloning and sequencing. Although standard precautions to avoid contamination were taken, we found that all samples from the 29 dog specimens contained human DNA, often at levels exceeding the amount of authentic ancient dog DNA. The level of contaminating human DNA was also significantly higher in the dog extracts than in the negative controls, and an experimental setup indicated that this was not caused by the carrier effect. This suggests that the contaminating human DNA mainly originated from the dog bones rather than from laboratory procedures. When cloned, fragments within a contaminated PCR product generally displayed several different sequences, although one haplotype was often found in majority. This leads us to believe that recognized criteria for authenticating aDNA cannot separate contamination from ancient human DNA the way they are presently used. © The Author 2005. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 22, no 10, 2040-2047 p.
Keyword [en]
Ancient DNA, Authentication, Mitochondrial DNA, Quantitative PCR
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-50416DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msi195OAI: diva2:271312
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2011-01-12

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Holmlund, Gunilla
By organisation
Faculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
In the same journal
Molecular biology and evolution
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 25 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link