DNA fingerprinting of Native American skeletal remains

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Kennedy, Bobbie-Jo
Cochran, Donald R. (Donald Ray)
Issue Date
Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Anthropology
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The purpose of this project was to determine if the human skeletal remains of two distinct Native American cemeteries, found in close geographic proximity, represent the same population. These archaeological sites are similar in location and artifacts. Burial practices, however, vary between the sites. These differences may represent class distinction or a difference in the times the cemeteries were used. Radiocarbon techniques have given dates of AD 230±300 and AD 635±105 for these two sites. Several methods of DNA isolation were compared for their ability to yield PCR amplifiable DNA. DNA isolation using a combination of CTAB and phenol/chloroform/isoamyl alcohol (24:24:1) provided the best results and yielded amplifiable DNA form two individuals, Hn I (8F-410) and Hn 10 ( 27F-8-14 b). Purification of the DNA by extraction from low melting agarose gel was required prior to PCR, and PCR conditions were optimized to maximize the DNA yields. Regions of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome of isolated DNA were amplified by PCR using primers which are specific for the HincII region of the mtDNA genome. Inability of restriction enzyme HincII to digest the amplified DNA of these two individuals suggested that they belong to the Native American mtDNA lineage C characterized by the loss of this restriction site.