Tuesday, August 15, 2017

On the hoarding of DNA-rich ancient bones

OSTEOLOGY: Stop hoarding ancient bones, plead archaeologists. Scientists call for wider access to rare samples rich in DNA (Ewen Callaway, Nature).
The quest to chronicle the past using DNA from ancient humans and animals has become a cut-throat ‘game of bones’, in which a handful of genetics laboratories are hoarding precious samples, three archaeologists charge in a 9 August letter to Nature.

The scientists call for more careful stewardship of DNA-rich bone specimens to ensure that they remain available to multiple research teams to study. They point to the example of a newly established centre in Israel that will act as a national clearing house to curate animal bones from archaeological sites, so that many researchers can access samples for genetic analysis.

Did you know what part of the body preserves DNA the best? This article will tell you.

Genetic analysis is becoming ever more important for the study of the ancient past. Some examples from the last couple of years are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and links.

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