We investigated whether 'next generation' methods can be used to sequence ancient DNA molecules in charred cereal grains. We prepared a DNA extract from a mixed sample of barley, einkorn, emmer and broomcorn millet, taken from a 3300-year-old assemblage of charred cereal grains from Assiros Toumba, Greece. Using the SOLiD 5500 system, we obtained 21,112,844 unique sequence reads. Of these, 178,779 had a 75% or greater nucleotide sequence similarity with one or more entries in the full nucleotide sequence database; 496 of these matches were to previously reported sequences from barley, einkorn, emmer, broomcorn millet or related species such as hexaploid wheat. The unique reads were also compared with a database comprising only wheat sequences. This analysis identified 1658 charred grain sequences that had 90% or greater similarity with segments of the wheat genome. The presence of barley, wheat and millet sequences in the next generation dataset confirms the presence of ancient DNA in this charred grain assemblage. Enrichment of extracts by hybridization capture or equivalent methods is likely to enable sequences to be obtained for entire genes and other genomic regions of interest. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
- Ancient DNA
- Charred plant remains
- DNA sequencing
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Institute of Biotechnology