Ancient DNA pp 43-49 | Cite as

DNA Extraction from Keratin and Chitin

  • Paula F. Campos
  • Thomas M. P. GilbertEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 840)


DNA extracted from keratinous and chitinous materials can be a useful source of genetic information. To effectively liberate the DNA from these materials, buffers containing relatively high levels of DTT, proteinase K, and detergent are recommended, followed by purification using either silica-column or organic methods.

Key words

Chitinous tissue Keratinous tissue Silica DNA extraction Ancient DNA hair feathers nail cuticle exoskeleton 



MTPG was supported by the Danish National Science Foundation’s “Skou” grant program.


  1. 1.
    Bonnichsen R, Hodges L, Ream W et al (2001) Methods for the study of ancient hair: radiocarbon dates and gene sequences from individual hairs. J Archaeol Sci 28:775–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gilbert M, Wilson A, Bunce M et al (2004) Ancient mitochondrial DNA from hair. Curr Biol 14:463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rawlence N, Wood J, Armstrong K et al (2009) DNA content and distribution in ancient feathers and potential to reconstruct the plumage of extinct avian taxa. Proc Biol Sci 276:3395PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Willerslev E, Gilbert MT, Binladen J et al (2009) Analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes from extinct and extant rhinoceroses reveals lack of phylogenetic resolution. BMC Evol Biol 9:95PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    King G, Gilbert M, Willerslev E et al (2009) Recovery of DNA from archaeological insect remains: first results, problems and potential. J Archaeol Sci 36:1179–1183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Yang DY, Eng B, Waye JS et al (1998) Technical note: improved DNA extraction from ancient bones using silica-based spin columns. Am J Phys Anthropol 105:539–543PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural History Museum of DenmarkUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Natural History Museum of DenmarkUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations