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Ancient DNA

A review of the field of ancient DNA, focusing on the technical pitfalls and stringency needed to ensure reproduciblity and authenticity of results.

May 01, 2001

Authors: M. Hofreiter, D. Serre, H.N. Poinar, M. Kuch and S. Pääbo

Nature reviews Genetics, Vol. 2, May 2001, pp. 353-359. DOI: 10.1038/35072071


DNA that has been recovered from archaeological and palaeontological remains makes it possible to go back in time and study the genetic relationships of extinct organisms to their contemporary relatives. This provides a new perspective on the evolution of organisms and DNA sequences. However, the field is fraught with technical pitfalls and needs stringent criteria to ensure the reliability of results, particularly when human remains are studied.

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