Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and the updating of DNA isolation protocols have combined to make the sequencing and genome estimation process of a very fragmented ancient DNA (aDNA) possible. This new technology has furthered the field of paleogenetics to be able to perform metagenomic studies, as opposed to analyzing a singular short DNA sequence, like in the past. It is difficult to extract aDNA and process it without severe degradation, if enough of a sample is still present in a fossil, to be collected at all. Amplification through the use of primers, selected for the species closest to the species of interest, or primers for interspecies conserved regions, has also been done to analyze aDNA. The mitochondrial DNA from fossils, as well as fragments of their nuclear genomes, are the main focus of study and captured using a hybridization-based capture method.
I have a particular interest in biological archeology. Advancements in paleogenetics could vastly improve identification of extinct species. Amplifying DNA like this, to allow for genome sequencing, will allow for better estimations of their genetic codes. However, the species with no living members cannot be verified and could possibly be providing contaminated DNA strands. This discrepancy is still difficult to rectify. Perhaps further technological advancements could assist in identifying and removing any contaminants.
Link to article “Methodological Changes in the Field of Paleogenetics”:
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