Nucleic acids extracted from mummified tissues are considered valuable materials for the identification of forensic cases and for the study of ancient human beings in the field of archaeoanthropology and the emergence of pathogens in Paleontology.
After the powerful polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology was developed, amplification of a minute amount of DNA extracted from various archived tissues could be performed. In the analysis of degraded or ancient DNA, the extraction process represents one of the critical stages. However, significant difficulty in extracting nucleic acids from mummified tissues has been reported due to chemical modification, degradation, the small amounts, inhibition, and contamination over a long period. These problems can make amplification of the nucleic acids very difficult. From a variety of tissue samples including aorta, brain, skin, genitals, ilium. penis, lung, muscle, connective tissue, DNA extraction was carried out using either organic solvents (such as phenol/chloroform) or nonorganic solvents (salt) method. The amount of DNA retained in the mummy is assumed to be minute and degraded, so several modification methods are applied so as to achieve efficient extraction.
Here, several representative protocols for extracting DNA from mummified tissues are presented and the precautions in the analysis are described.
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