Setting Up an Ancient DNA Laboratory

  • Tara L. Fulton
  • Beth ShapiroEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1963)


Entering into the world of ancient DNA research is nontrivial. Because the DNA in most ancient specimens is degraded to some extent, the potential is high for contamination of ancient samples, ancient DNA extracts, and genomic sequencing libraries prepared from these extracts with non-degraded DNA from the present-day environment. To minimize the risk of contamination in ancient DNA environments, experimental protocols specific to handling ancient specimens, including those that outline the design and layout of laboratory space, have been introduced. Here, we outline challenges associated with working with ancient samples, including providing guidelines for setting up a new ancient DNA laboratory. We also discuss steps that can be taken at the sample collection and preparation stage to minimize the potential for contamination of ancient DNA experiments with exogenous sources of DNA.

Key words

Ancient DNA aDNA DNA damage Laboratory setup Contamination Subsampling Sample preparation Guidelines 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environment and Climate Change CanadaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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