View Full Version : Prehistoric Dental Calculus May Trap Ancient Human DNA For Genome Reconstruction

03-30-2016, 07:33 PM

With the help of DNA sequencing, scientists have shown that human DNA can be enriched from calcified dental plaque. In fact, they've now managed to reconstruct mitochondrial genomes from ancient specimens for maternal ancestry analysis.

Calcified dental plaque, also known as dental calculus, has recently been shown to be an important source for researchers to gather ancient DNA from dietary and microbial sources. Now, though, researchers have found that it could also be an important source for ancient human DNA.


"Dental calculus may enable researchers to retrieve ancient DNA from samples where bone or other biological tissues are too degraded for analysis," said Maria Nieves Colón of Arizona State University, one of the researchers involved in the study. "This is particularly exciting to those of us who work in tropical or extremely old contests, where traditional sources of DNA may be poorly preserved or even non-existent."

With the help of dental calculus, researchers can reconstruct whole mitochondrial genomes. This is huge when it comes to better understanding ancient humans and their culture, and it may also reveal a bit more about migration patterns and where their current descendants are today.

The findings were published in the March 16 issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.22960/abstract;jsessionid=B37C22FCC7407547649259CE39B01B F5.f04t01