DNA Extraction from Fossil Eggshell
Avian eggshell fragments recovered from both paleontological and archaeological deposits contain a cache of well-preserved ancient DNA. Here, we describe an extraction protocol that has been optimized to maximize the recovery of ancient DNA from fossil eggshell and minimize the co-purification of PCR inhibitors. In this method, fossil eggshell fragments are powdered, then digested and heated to release DNA from the calcite matrix. The digest then undergoes a concentration step before purification and washing using silica columns. The method has been used to recover aDNA from the eggshell of many avian species including moa, elephant birds, and emu, up to 19,000 years old.
Key wordseggshell silica ancient DNA DNA extraction
MB was supported by the Australian Research Council as a Future Fellow (FT0991741). We thank Emma McLay, Morten Allentoft, Jayne Houston, and James Haile for helpful advice.
- 5.Oskam CL, Haile J, McLay E, Rigby P, Allentoft ME, Olsen ME, Bengtsson C, Miller GH, Schwenninger JL, Jacomb C, Walter R, Baynes A, Dortch J, Parker-Pearson M, Gilbert MT, Holdaway RN, Willerslev E, Bunce M (2010) Fossil avian eggshell preserves ancient DNA. Proc Biol Sci 277:1991–2000PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar