A longitudinal mitochondrial DNA analysis of modern human hair samples from the Anyang region of China : implications for ancient DNA research
Lahti, Arlene Laila
Master of Science
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In 1998, Dr. E. Molto was selected to conduct pilot research on the Hei Heru, Shang Dynasty site in Anyang, China. A major component of this research is the ancient DNA analysis o f human remains recovered at Anyang. Preliminary work on these -3300 year old remains has led to an auxiliary study that focuses upon modem DNA extracted from hairs donated by individuals who currently live in the farming villages found within the greater Anyang Site area. This latter study uses a ‘blind study’ approach, to analyze human hairs in an effort to identify ancestor-descendent relationships in a controlled situation in order to validate the methods used to examine the ancient specimens. We secured 30 hair samples from 30 individuals who reside in three remote villages with a long history of occupation in the area. The hair samples include a series of identified lineages representing grandmothers, daughters and grandchildren. The analysis sought to identify individual matrilineages, validate interpretative methods relevant to the ancient Anyang remains, to critically address the implications of short-term mutations for longitudinal studies, and evaluate the Anyang data set with other mtDNA studies from Asia.