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Long-Term Survival of Ancient DNA in Egypt: Response to Zink and Nerlich (2003)

A response to the arguments about the survival of ancient DNA in Egypt and the likelihood of retrial of ancient DNA from Egyptian remains.

Jan 01, 2005

Authors: M.T.P. Gilbert, I. Barnes, M.J. Collins, C. Smith, J. Eklund, J. Goudsmit, H. Poinar and A. Cooper

American journal of physical anthropology, August 2005. DOI:

Using the degradation of papyrus chloroplast DNA as a general model of molecular degradation in Egypt, Marota et al. (2002) proposed that PCR-amplifiable DNA is unlikely to survive in ancient Egyptian specimens. If correct, this suggests that the numerous studies claiming to have successfully amplified host and/or pathogen DNA from ancient Egyptians (e.g., Zink et al., 2000a,b, 2001, 2003a,b) must be reevaluated.

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