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Croat Med J. 1999 Sep;40(3):392-7.

Histological analysis and ancient DNA amplification of human bone remains found in caius iulius polybius house in pompeii.

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  • 1Istituto di Farmacologia e Tossicologia and C.R.I.S.C.E.B., 2.a Universita degli Studi di Napoli, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy. cipollar@unina.it

Abstract

Thirteen skeletons found in the Caius Iulius Polybius house, which has been the object of intensive study since its discovery in Pompeii 250 years ago, have provided an opportunity to study either bone diagenesis by histological investigation or ancient DNA by polymerase chain reaction analysis. DNA analysis was done by amplifying both X- and Y-chromosomes amelogenin loci and Y-specific alphoid repeat locus. The von Willebrand factor (vWF) microsatellite locus on chromosome 12 was also analyzed for personal identification in two individuals showing alleles with 10/11 and 12/12 TCTA repeats, respectively. Technical problems were the scarcity of DNA content from osteocytes, DNA molecule fragmentation, microbial contamination which change bone structure, contaminating human DNA which results from mishandling, and frequent presence of Taq DNA polymerase inhibiting molecules like polyphenols and heavy metals. The results suggest that the remains contain endogenous human DNA that can be amplified and analyzed. The amplifiability of DNA corresponds to the bone preservation and dynamics of the burial conditions subsequent to the 79 A.D. eruption.

PMID:
10411967
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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