RSS: BLOG FEED
December 2006July 2007August 2007September 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011July 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011July 2012August 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017July 2017September 2017October 2017
History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings
news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site.
From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History
Buff wants to know. And feel free to stop by History Buff's
Author Interviews for Q&As with authors of historical fiction. Enjoy!
historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the
past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
Logo designed by Shaun Venish
Blog designed by Mia Pearlman Design
Researchers Recover Thousand-Year-Old Viking DNA
In a study published today in Public Library of Science ONE, Danish scientists describe the retrieval of genetic material from ten Viking skeletons found in an ancient burial site near the city of Odense. The remains date to 1000 AD, the twilight of Viking civilization.
The scientific team was led by the Institute of Forensic Medicine's Jorgen Dissing, who previously showed that the last Viking king was buried with his daughter-in-law, not his mom.
The discovery of the DNA is not in itself extraordinary (though it certainly is cool to have Viking DNA samples). The significance instead lies in the steps the researchers took to keep the DNA free from contamination.
Recovering ancient DNA is a notoriously tricky task. First scientists must find a decently preserved sample. Then they have to keep it from becoming tainted by other genetic material. This isn't easy. Stray DNA is to researchers what dust is to regular people: inevitable and nearly escapable.
That's what spoiled Cretaceous-era dinosaur DNA and Neolithic remains found in Spain. Academic literature is full of reports on promising samples gone bad, or parsing the techniques needed to be sure that ancient DNA doesn't actually come from a stray flake of lab technician skin.