Ancient DNA pp 45-55 | Cite as

Extraction of Ancient DNA from Plant Remains

  • Nathan Wales
  • Logan KistlerEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1963)


Ancient plant remains from archaeological sites, paleoenvironmental contexts, and herbaria provide excellent opportunities for interrogating plant genetics over Quaternary timescales using ancient DNA (aDNA)-based analyses. A variety of plant tissues, preserved primarily by desiccation and anaerobic waterlogging, have proven to be viable sources of aDNA. Plant tissues are anatomically and chemically diverse and therefore require optimized DNA extraction approaches. Here, we describe a plant DNA isolation protocol that performs well in most contexts. We include recommendations for optimization to retain the very short DNA fragments that are expected to be preserved in degraded tissues.

Key words

Ancient plant DNA DNA extraction Archaeogenomics Archaeobotany Paleoethnobotany 



N.W. was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award number DEB-1354622).


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant and Microbial BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology and Image SynthesisUniversity Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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