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Whole-Genome Shotgun Sequencing of Mitochondria from Ancient Hair Shafts

Science  28 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5846, pp. 1927-1930
DOI: 10.1126/science.1146971

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Abstract

Although the application of sequencing-by-synthesis techniques to DNA extracted from bones has revolutionized the study of ancient DNA, it has been plagued by large fractions of contaminating environmental DNA. The genetic analyses of hair shafts could be a solution: We present 10 previously unexamined Siberian mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) mitochondrial genomes, sequenced with up to 48-fold coverage. The observed levels of damage-derived sequencing errors were lower than those observed in previously published frozen bone samples, even though one of the specimens was >50,000 14C years old and another had been stored for 200 years at room temperature. The method therefore sets the stage for molecular-genetic analysis of museum collections.

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