Human Evolution

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 263–270 | Cite as

DNA preservation in Precolumbian remains from the American Southwest

  • N. L. Shearin
  • E. J. King
  • D. H. O’Rourke


Naturally desiccated precolumbian remains from the U.S. Southwest were examined for DNA preservation in a variety of tissue types. Histological examination was used to determine if condition of morphological preservation indicated a tissue choice for nucleic acid extraction. It was found that nucleic acids are regularly present in tissue from these samples and neither macroscopic nor microscopic tissue appearance is an indicator of DNA preservation. Extracted DNA from Southwest specimens was small (<500 bp) but demonstrably human. Future analyses of ancient DNA with allele specific oligonucleotide probes should provide answers to specific anthropological questions about Southwestern Amerindian population dynamics, evolution and connections to modern Pueblo peoples.

Key Words

Mummified remains DAPI DnA mtDNA Histology Polymerase Chain reaction 


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Copyright information

© Editrice II Sedicesimo 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. L. Shearin
    • 1
  • E. J. King
    • 2
  • D. H. O’Rourke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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