Ancient mtDNA sequences and radiocarbon dating of human bones from the chalcolithic caves of wadi El-Makkukh

M. Salamon, S. Tzur, B. Arensburg, J. Zias, Y. Nagar, S. Weiner, E. Boaretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

DNA from fossil human bones can provide valuable information for understanding intra- and inter-population relationships. Using the DNA preserved inside crystal aggregates from human fossil bones containing relatively large amounts of collagen, we demonstrate the presence of reproducible mtDNA control region sequences. Radiocarbon dates from each bone show that the burial caves were used for up to 600 years during the Chalcolithic period (5th-4th millennium BP). A comparison of the ancient DNA sequences with modern mtDNA databases indicates that all samples can most likely be assigned to the R haplogroup sub-clades, which are common in West-Eurasia. In four cases more precise and confident haplogroup identifications could be achieved (H, U3a and H6). The H haplogroup is present in three out of the four assigned ancient samples. This haplogroup is prevalent today in West - Eurasia. The results reported here tend to genetically link this Chalcolithic group of individuals to the current West Eurasian populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalMediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry
Volume10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • ADNA
  • Bone crystal aggregates
  • Chalcolithic caves
  • Collagen preservation
  • Haplogroups
  • Population genetics
  • Wadi el-makkukh

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