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Ann Anat. 2012 Jan 20;194(1):3-6. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Setting the stage - building and working in an ancient DNA laboratory.

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Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


With the introduction of next generation high throughput sequencing in 2005 and the resulting revolution in genetics, ancient DNA research has rapidly developed from an interesting but marginal field within evolutionary biology into one that can contribute significantly to our understanding of evolution in general and the development of our own species in particular. While the amount of sequence data available from ancient human, other animal and plant remains has increased dramatically over the past five years, some key limitations of ancient DNA research remain. Most notably, reduction of contamination and the authentication of results are of utmost importance. A number of studies have addressed different aspects of sampling, DNA extraction and DNA manipulation in order to establish protocols that most efficiently generate reproducible and authentic results. As increasing numbers of researchers from different backgrounds become interested in using ancient DNA technology to address key questions, the need for practical guidelines on how to construct and use an ancient DNA facility arises. The aim of this article is therefore to provide practical tips for building a state-of-the-art ancient DNA facility. It is intended to help researchers new to the field of ancient DNA research generally, and those considering the application of next generation sequencing, in their planning process.

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