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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2006 Dec 5;101 Suppl 2:15-23.

Paleogenetic and taphonomic analysis of human bones from Moa, Beirada, and Zé Espinho Sambaquis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Laboratório de Genética Humana e Médica, Departamento de Patologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brasil.


The present paper discusses mtDNA and taphonomy of human remains from Moa, Beirada, and Zé Espinho sambaquis of Saquarema, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. New human bone dating by 14C-AMS for Moa archeological site (3810+50 BP - GX-31826-AMS) is included. Preservation of microscopic lamellae and DNA is not related to the macroscopic integrity of the bones. Results here suggest that the preservation of amplifiable DNA fragments may have relation to the preservation of the lamellar arrangement as indicated by optical microscopic examination (polarized light). In 13 human bone fragments from Moa, Beirada, and Zé Espinho it was possible to sequence mtDNA from the 3 individuals of Moa, and from 1 of 4 individuals of Beirada, whose bones also show extensive areas with preserved lamellar structures. The 6 human bone fragments of Zé Espinho and 3 of the 4 fragments of Beirada showed extensive destruction of cortical microstructure represented by cavities, intrusive minerals, and agglomerated microscopic bodies of fungi and bacteria; it was not possible to extract mtDNA from these samples. The results support the hypothesis that the preservation of the microscopic osteon organization is a good predictor for DNA preservation. It was also confirmed the C haplogroup antiquity in Brazil.

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