A review of DNA analyses of archaeological and ancient tissues

Victoria E. Gibbon*, Goran Štrkalj, John Harington, Clem B. Penny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recently, there has been an increase in genetic research involving the extraction and analysis of DNA to obtain information on human and other animal remains. This paper reviews selected aspects of research on ancient and archaeological tissues to address anthropological problems. Factors influencing successful and authentic DNA extraction and amplification, such as molecular preservation, degradation and contamination, are considered. Good molecular preservation and minimising DNA contamination are essential to obtain authentic DNA results. Genetic analyses on skeletal material is still at an early stage in South Africa, but would be of great value to the country's rich historical, archaeological and palaeoanthropological assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-149
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of South Africa
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • ADNA authenticity
  • ADNA contamination
  • Ancient DNA (aDNA)
  • Bone extraction
  • Molecular archaeology

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