06 December 2018

DNA from 10,000 year old chewing gums

Development of the ability to extract and analyse DNA from ancient materials continues to amaze. The preprint Ancient DNA from chewing gums connects material culture and genetics of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Scandinavia is another example. Note the article is not yet peer reviewed.

Human DNA was recovered from birch bark pitch mastics, chewing gums, from a site in western Sweden. Genome-wide data was from mastics representing three individuals, two females and one male. All were mitochondrial haplogroup U5a2d and two had a possible second degree relationship.

While chewing gum may lose its flavour on the bedpost over night it can conserve DNA for 10,000 years!

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