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Delefosse, Thomas Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.
Yoder, Anne D Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.
- Research challenges
- Research techniques
- Ancient human DNA
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Within the past decade, biochemical methods have advanced so much that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) can be copied and sequenced from individuals representing extinct populations, or even from individuals representing entire species now extinct. Such DNA, from long-gone sources, is called ancient DNA (aDNA). The introduction of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) into the molecular biologist's tool box has made this extraordinary retrieval possible. The PCR is a biochemical technique in which free nucleotides, DNA primer sequences, and a polymerase (Taq) are employed to amplify DNA in vitro. Theoretically, it is possible to begin with a single target DNA molecule and end with millions of copies that can easily be sequenced with routine methods.
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