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Members of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre are active in different research projects.

Molecular caving

Since fecal remnants are probably one of the major components of dry cave sediments, we decided to extract ancient DNA from the sediment of Rampart Cave, Arizaona (dated to approximately 11 thousand years old). Amplification of the extracted DNA with both 12S and 16S primers identified a variety of taxa including the Shasta ground sloth.

Jan 01, 2003

Genomewide comparison of DNA sequences between humans and chimpanzees

We sequenced a total of 8,859 DNA molecules encompassing approximately 1.9 million base pairs of the chipanzee genome, and compared them to their homologous human DNA sequences, comparing the differences between sites and types of substitutions.

Jun 01, 2002

Molecular analysis of a 11 700-year-old rodent midden from the Atacama Desert, Chile

We combined both ancient DNA and mascroscopic identification of 11,700 year old middens in the Atacama Desert, Chile to show that the past climate was much more diverse and humid in the past. Additionally, the primary rodent responsible for the midden was identified as an ancestral Phyllotis species. Notably, modern Phyllotis can only be found 100km to the north of the sampling location suggesting at least a small range shift.

Jan 01, 2002

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

Molecular Analyses of Oral Polio Vaccine Samples

We analyzed several early oral polio vaccine pools to test the "OPV/AIDS hypothesis". Our analysis found no evidence for the presence of chimpanzee DNA, but did find evidence of monkey DNA.

Apr 20, 2001

A molecular analysis of dietary diversity for three archaic Native Americans

Here we report the DNA anlysis of three 2,000 year old Native American paleofecal samples from Hinds Cave, Texas. Analysis shows that these individuals consumed 2-4 different animal species and 4-8 plant species during a short time period. Furthermore, this work highlights paleofecal remains as an important source of ancient DNA.

Apr 01, 2001

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