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McMaster Ancient DNA News

A molecular analysis of ground sloth diet through the last glaciation

We extracted DNA from five coprolites dated between 11,000 years ago and 28,500 years ago all excavated in Gypsum Cave. All coprolites contained DNA identifying the defector as Shasta ground sloth. Amplification for the rbcL gene in chloroplast also shows that the environment at the end of the Pleistocene was much drier than it was in the past.

Jul 10, 2000

Protein preservation and DNA retrieval from ancient tissues

Here we outline a technique using flash pyrolysis to assess the peptide hydrolysis of 11 archaeological and paleontological remains and use it as a proxy for assessing the likliehood of retrieving authentic ancient DNA from ancient remains.

Jul 20, 1999

Molecular Coproscopy: Dung and Diet of the Extinct Ground Sloth Nothrotheriops shastensis

Here we show a chemical agent, N-enacylthiazolium bromide, which cleaves cross-links between reducing sugars and amino groups making it possible for DNA amplification for ancient paleofeces. We identify the defecator as an extinct sloth, likely Shasta ground sloth.

Jul 20, 1998

Bacillus DNA in Fossil Bees: an Ancient Symbiosis?

We have isolated DNA from the abdominal tissue of four extinct stingless bees in Dominican amber, and conducted PCR amplification targetting the 16S rRNA gene. Our analysis revealed the the sequence was mostly likely derived from Bacillus spp., whose modern representatives are often found on the abdominal tissue of stingless bees.

Jun 20, 1994