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Thread: Testing of roughly 350 year old teeth

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    Testing of roughly 350 year old teeth

    Does anyone know of any laboratory which would be willing to attempt DNA testing of teeth found during an archaeological dig believed to be roughly 350 years old? The teeth were found on the site of the homestead of Joseph Howland, son of Pilgrim John Howland. The property was only occupied for a couple of generations, so we believe the teeth belong to an immediate family member of Joseph (possibly child or less likely grandchild).

    The Pilgrim John Howland Society (PJHS) has contacted commercial testing companies (FTDNA, Full Genomes, Y-Seq) and they have declined to test (as they do not have the experience in testing old remains) and ancient labs (such as the David Reich Lab) have stated the remains are too recent for their interest.

    Given the high probability the teeth belonged to a Howland family member, the PJHS is interested in having the DNA serve as a sort of "proxie" for the autosomal profile for John Howland & Elizabeth Tilley. Theoretically, the teeth should have roughly 1/4 to 1/8 of the DNA from John & Elizabeth and down the road it may be possible to identify autosomal segments in living persons who may match the teeth.

    We do know the Y-DNA of Pilgrim John Howland as well as the mtDNA for Elizabeth Tilley. It may also be possible to identify the mtDNA for Elizabeth Southworth, wife of Joseph Howland.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wing Genealogist View Post
    Does anyone know of any laboratory which would be willing to attempt DNA testing of teeth found during an archaeological dig believed to be roughly 350 years old? The teeth were found on the site of the homestead of Joseph Howland, son of Pilgrim John Howland. The property was only occupied for a couple of generations, so we believe the teeth belong to an immediate family member of Joseph (possibly child or less likely grandchild).

    The Pilgrim John Howland Society (PJHS) has contacted commercial testing companies (FTDNA, Full Genomes, Y-Seq) and they have declined to test (as they do not have the experience in testing old remains) and ancient labs (such as the David Reich Lab) have stated the remains are too recent for their interest.

    Given the high probability the teeth belonged to a Howland family member, the PJHS is interested in having the DNA serve as a sort of "proxie" for the autosomal profile for John Howland & Elizabeth Tilley. Theoretically, the teeth should have roughly 1/4 to 1/8 of the DNA from John & Elizabeth and down the road it may be possible to identify autosomal segments in living persons who may match the teeth.

    We do know the Y-DNA of Pilgrim John Howland as well as the mtDNA for Elizabeth Tilley. It may also be possible to identify the mtDNA for Elizabeth Southworth, wife of Joseph Howland.
    No but I have hair samples and a post card with stamp that I wanted to test, so I would be interested if you find a entity willing to do it...assuming I can afford it.
    Y DNA line continued: Z142>Z12222>FGC12378>FGC12401>FGC12384
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellSince1893 View Post
    No but I have hair samples and a post card with stamp that I wanted to test, so I would be interested if you find a entity willing to do it...assuming I can afford it.
    I ask FTDNA a few years back about getting a hair from a ring made in memory of a presumed member of my family tested and Bennett Greenspan replied that hair wasn't much good for DNA testing so to leave the ring alone.

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    Totheletter DNA tests teeth according to their FAQ page.

    A razor may have skin cells under the blades, and teeth may have DNA captured in the centre of the tooth under the enamel. In the case of these types of artefacts, we will discuss your individual case with you at the time of visual inspection.
    https://www.totheletterdna.com/envelopes-faqs

    Genie1 has a page that has companies doing artefact testing:

    https://genie1.com.au/deceased-dna/
    Last edited by teepean47; 03-22-2021 at 07:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellSince1893 View Post
    No but I have hair samples and a post card with stamp that I wanted to test, so I would be interested if you find a entity willing to do it...assuming I can afford it.
    I remember reading about Living DNA providing the service for envelopes.

    This is what this website says:
    In addition to MyHeritage, a British company called Living DNA began informally offering the service for $400 to $600 last year, and a small Australian start-up called Totheletter DNA, which specializes in DNA from envelopes and stamps, launched a similarly priced service in July. MyHeritage says its own service should debut later this year.
    This website makes this claim:
    I asked David Nicholson, Managing Director of Living DNA, if extracting and testing DNA samples from old letters or postage stamps would be available to the general public and he confirmed that this service would be widely available by the end of 2018 at a cost of $1,000-$2,500.

    “We test both [envelope flap and stamp], depending on which have been licked and then not touched. The flap is great if a letter opener has been used,” Nicholson adds.
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    I wonder what company tested the used napkins of Adolf Hitler's nephew. Are they still in business?

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/hitlers...0914-fnu6.html
    Last edited by Grossvater; 03-25-2021 at 05:20 PM.

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    I can't see how any "proxy" value can be given to the DNA of teeth recovered from archaeological dig in terms of attributing it to one person or family. Location alone isn't proof. They may even have belonged to a guest or visitor to the household. Sorry, but t sounds like clutching at straws to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceni View Post
    I can't see how any "proxy" value can be given to the DNA of teeth recovered from archaeological dig in terms of attributing it to one person or family. Location alone isn't proof. They may even have belonged to a guest or visitor to the household. Sorry, but t sounds like clutching at straws to me.
    I'm sure he realizes that, but he has some information that would serve as a basis for comparison if results should match it would indicate whether or not that tooth came from a relative or not.

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    Have you tried contacting local universities? Specifically archaeology professors. Maybe if the society was willing to fund a small project related to the property that could include DNA testing on the remains and get published it might increase the interest to get it done.
    Last edited by Osiris; 09-02-2021 at 01:20 AM.
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