Developing Minimally Destructive Protocols for DNA Analysis of Museum Collection Bone Artifacts

Author(s): Kelly Brown; Barbara Winter; Chen Shen; Dongya Yang

Year: 2016


Ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis has revolutionized the field of archaeology with its ability to provide unique and otherwise unattainable information about the past. However, due to the destructive nature of current aDNA techniques many museum curators are hesitant to subject their collections to this kind of analysis. This poster presents a new sampling strategy for obtaining adequate amounts of bone powder from bone artifacts for aDNA extraction, while minimizing the damage done to the valuable artifacts. A low speed drill should be used as it offers greater control and maneuverability during the drilling process. This is a major advantage as drilling angle, depth, speed, and pressure are major considerations. X-ray imaging should be used to examine the internal structure of the artifact in order to asses its stability and to identify the optimal drilling location and depth. We believe that the low drilling speed, small drill bit size, and the use of X-ray imaging will reduce the likelihood of any unintentional damage being done to the internal or external structure of the artifact. This strategy has been tested and optimized on many archaeological bone artifacts curated in the SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Cite this Record

Developing Minimally Destructive Protocols for DNA Analysis of Museum Collection Bone Artifacts. Kelly Brown, Barbara Winter, Chen Shen, Dongya Yang. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405157) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8B859W0

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min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.743; max lat: 74.385 ;

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