Friday, October 23, 2020

DNA from 5,700-year-old ‘gum’ shows what one ancient woman may have looked like

 chewed birch pitch

According to ScienceNews, fossilized bones and teeth are not the only source of ancient human DNA. In an article by Sofie Bates, a 5,700-year-old gum was discovered. Birch pitch also known as gum could hold enough DNA to piece together the genetic instruction books. The gum was discovered in Denmark and a team was able to obtain the genome of an ancient women. They were able to figure out that she probably had blue eyes, dark skin, and dark hair. Birch pitch was heated and made pliable; birch is also resistant to bacteria and viruses which is why the DNA was protected from decay. "The team also recovered DNA from microbes that may have lived in the woman’s mouth, including from older versions of Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis, and bacteria that can cause pneumonia or gum disease." I think this article was interesting because who would of thought that a piece of 'gum' could have described the appearance of an ancient woman. I've always heard about fossils, but this is the first time I'm coming across a 5,700-year-old gum that still contained old DNA. 

1 comment:

  1. This was very interesting to read and I found it really cool that the birch pitch could hold together DNA for that long. Overall this article is well written and I enjoyed it.