Anthropology: Current and Future Developments

Volume: 2

Genomics in Biological Anthropology: New Challenges, New Opportunities

Molecular methodologies are crucial to our understanding of human population diversity, as well as our evolutionary relationships with nonhuman primates. The completion of the Human Genome Project ...
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Ancient DNA: From Single Words to Full Libraries in 30 Years

Pp. 138-159 (22)

Marc Simon and Assumpcio Malgosa


Since the arrival of the technology that permitted to recover and study ancient genetic material 30 years ago, its success has enjoyed steady growth, providing answers to a huge variety of fields, from personal identification to a better understanding of ancient human behavior, as well as the intricated evolution of our species or the recovery of genetic material from extinct ones. However, this field has also been accompanied by some handicaps which have complicated its improvement, as the damage that the individuals may have suffered over time and most notoriously contamination. A brief synthesis of the principal landmarks in this field’s history and the steps taken to overcome these problems are exposed in detail.


Ancient diseases, Ancient DNA, Contamination, Damage, Diagenesis, Endogenous DNA, Extinct species, Forensic identification, Human history, Identification, Kinship, PCR, Putrefaction, Storing conditions.


Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Valles, Barcelona, Spain.