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Genes 2017, 8(6), 169;

Identifying Bird Remains Using Ancient DNA Barcoding

Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-10405 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, North Street, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL, UK
Institute of Archaeology, 36 Beaumont St., Oxford OX1 2PG, UK
Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Slawkowska 17, 31-016 Krakow, Poland
Sussex School of Archaeology, Mays Farm, Selmeston, Polegate, Sussex BN26 6TS, UK
Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Hofreiter
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 11 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Neglected Areas of Ancient DNA Research)
Full-Text   |   PDF [225 KB, uploaded 21 June 2017]


Bird remains that are difficult to identify taxonomically using morphological methods, are common in the palaeontological record. Other types of challenging avian material include artefacts and food items from endangered taxa, as well as remains from aircraft strikes. We here present a DNA-based method that enables taxonomic identification of bird remains, even from material where the DNA is heavily degraded. The method is based on the amplification and sequencing of two short variable parts of the 16S region in the mitochondrial genome. To demonstrate the applicability of this approach, we evaluated the method on a set of Holocene and Late Pleistocene postcranial bird bones from several palaeontological and archaeological sites in Europe with good success. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aves; species identification; 16S; palaeogenetics; biodiversity; archaeology; palaeontology Aves; species identification; 16S; palaeogenetics; biodiversity; archaeology; palaeontology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dalén, L.; Lagerholm, V.K.; Nylander, J.A.A.; Barton, N.; Bochenski, Z.M.; Tomek, T.; Rudling, D.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Irestedt, M.; Stewart, J.R. Identifying Bird Remains Using Ancient DNA Barcoding. Genes 2017, 8, 169.

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