ANCIENT DNA

Document DNA shows agriculture's course

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1477
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1477-a

Parchment—a rich source of ancient DNA

PHOTO: THE BORTHWICK INSTITUTE FOR ARCHIVES

Finding a good source of ancient DNA can be tough, due to weathering and bacterial contamination. But parchment—made from livestock hides—offers an abundant, well-preserved, and often dated source of DNA, report Teasdale et al. The researchers worked with a 2-cm-square piece, but have so refined their sequencing technique that it only requires a tiny sliver of parchment; they hope eventually to do nondestructive testing. These data, they note, can reveal the history of agriculture over the past 700 years.

Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. B, 10.1098/rstb.2013.0379 (2014).

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