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Trends Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;30(7):364-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.03.007. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Next-generation sequencing offers new insights into DNA degradation.

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Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, Ă˜ster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.


The processes underlying DNA degradation are central to various disciplines, including cancer research, forensics and archaeology. The sequencing of ancient DNA molecules on next-generation sequencing platforms provides direct measurements of cytosine deamination, depurination and fragmentation rates that previously were obtained only from extrapolations of results from in vitro kinetic experiments performed over short timescales. For example, recent next-generation sequencing of ancient DNA reveals purine bases as one of the main targets of postmortem hydrolytic damage, through base elimination and strand breakage. It also shows substantially increased rates of DNA base-loss at guanosine. In this review, we argue that the latter results from an electron resonance structure unique to guanosine rather than adenosine having an extra resonance structure over guanosine as previously suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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