A Minimally-Invasive Method for Sampling Human Petrous Bones From the Cranial Base for Ancient DNA Analysis

Sirak, Kendra and Fernandes, Daniel M and Cheronet, Olivia and Novak, Mario and Gamarra, Beatriz and Balassa, Tímea and Bernert, Zsolt and Cséki, Andrea and Dani, János and Gallina, Zsolt and Kocsis-Buruzs, Gábor and Kővári, Ivett and László, Orsolya and Pap, Ildikó and Patay, Róbert and Petkes, Zsolt and Szenthe, Gergely and Szeniczey, Tamás and Hajdu, Tamás and Pinhasi, Ron (2017) A Minimally-Invasive Method for Sampling Human Petrous Bones From the Cranial Base for Ancient DNA Analysis. Biotechniques, 62 (6). pp. 283-289. ISSN 0736-6205

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Ancient DNA (aDNA) research involves invasive and destructive sampling procedures that are often incompatible with anthropological, anatomical, and bioarcheological analyses requiring intact skeletal remains. The osseous labyrinth inside the petrous bone has been shown to yield higher amounts of endogenous DNA than any other skeletal element; however, accessing this labyrinth in cases of a complete or reconstructed skull involves causing major structural damage to the cranial vault or base. Here, we describe a novel cranial base drilling method (CBDM) for accessing the osseous labyrinth from the cranial base that prevents damaging the surrounding cranial features, making it highly complementary to morphological analyses. We assessed this method by comparing the aDNA results from one petrous bone processed using our novel method to its pair, which was processed using established protocols for sampling disarticulated petrous bones. We show a decrease in endogenous DNA and molecular copy numbers when the drilling method is used; however, we also show that this method produces more endogenous DNA and higher copy numbers than any postcranial bone. Our results demonstrate that this minimally-invasive method reduces the loss of genetic data associated with the use of other skeletal elements and enables the combined craniometric and genetic study of individuals with archeological, cultural, and evolutionary value.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GN Anthropology / embertan, fizikai antropológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH426 Genetics / genetika, örökléstan
Depositing User: Dr. Tamás Hajdu
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 12:03
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2017 12:03

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