Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Common Errors in Ancient DNA sequencing

This is the paper that I referred to in a post last week about S. Paabo. Apparently, he is now a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Patterns of nucleotide misincorporations during enzymatic amplification and direct large-scale sequencing of ancient DNA

M. Stiller, R. E. Green, M. Ronan, J. F. Simons, L. Du, W. He, M. Egholm, J. M. Rothberg, S. G. Keats, N. D. Ovodov, E. E. Antipina, G. F. Baryshnikov, Y. V. Kuzmin, A. A. Vasilevski, G. E. Wuenschell, J. Termini, M. Hofreiter, V. Jaenicke-Després, and S. Pääbo

PNAS 2006 103: 13578-13584

Abstract: Whereas evolutionary inferences derived from present-day DNA sequences are by necessity indirect, ancient DNA sequences provide a direct view of past genetic variants. However, base lesions that accumulate in DNA over time may cause nucleotide misincorporations when ancient DNA sequences are replicated. By repeated amplifications of mitochondrial DNA sequences from a large number of ancient wolf remains, we show that C/G-to-T/A transitions are the predominant type of such misincorporations. Using a massively parallel sequencing method that allows large numbers of single DNA strands to be sequenced, we show that modifications of C, as well as to a lesser extent of G, residues cause such misincorporations. Experiments where oligonucleotides containing modified bases are used as templates in amplification reactions suggest that both of these types of misincorporations can be caused by deamination of the template bases. New DNA sequencing methods in conjunction with knowledge of misincorporation processes have now, in principle, opened the way for the determination of complete genomes from organisms that became extinct during and after the last glaciation.

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