Abstract Great ancient composers have endured many obstacles and constraints which are very difficult to understand unless we perform the restoration process of ancient music. Species identification in leather used during manufacturing is the key step to start such a restoration process in order to produce a facsimile of a museum piano. Our study reveals the species identification in the leather covering the hammer head in a piano created by Erard in 1802. This is the last existing piano similar to the piano that Beethoven used with its leather preserved in its original state. The leather sample was not present in a homogeneous piece, yet combined with glue. Using a DNA extraction method that avoids PCR inhibitors; we discovered that sheep and cattle are the origin of the combination. To identify the species in the leather, we focused on the amounts of mitochondrial DNA in both leather and glue and results have led us to the conclusion that the leather used to cover the hammer head in this piano was made of cattle hide.
We have used a paleogenetics approach to investigate the genetic landscape of coat color variation in ancient Eurasian dog and wolf populations. We amplified DNA fragments of two genes controlling coat color, Mc1r (Melanocortin 1 Receptor) and CBD103 (canine-?-defensin), in respectively 15 and 19 ancient canids (dogs and wolf morphotypes) from 14 different archeological sites, throughout Asia and Europe spanning from ca. 12 000 B.P. (end of Upper Palaeolithic) to ca. 4000 B.P. (Bronze Age). We provide evidence of a new variant (R301C) of the Melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r) and highlight the presence of the beta-defensin melanistic mutation (CDB103-K locus) on ancient DNA from dog-and wolf-morphotype specimens. We show that the dominant K(B) allele (CBD103), which causes melanism, and R301C (Mc1r), the variant that may cause light hair color, are present as early as the beginning of the Holocene, over 10,000 years ago. These results underline the genetic diversity of prehistoric dogs. This diversity may have partly stemmed not only from the wolf gene pool captured by domestication but also from mutations very likely linked to the relaxation of natural selection pressure occurring in-line with this process.
In this study, we have applied Surface Enhanced Resonance Raman Scattering (SERRS) technology to the specific detection of DNA. We present an innovative SERRS sandwich-hybridization assay that allows specific DNA detection without any enzymatic amplification, such as is the case with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). In some substrates, such as ancient or processed remains, enzymatic amplification fails due to DNA alteration (degradation, chemical modification) or to the presence of inhibitors. Consequently, the development of a non-enzymatic method, allowing specific DNA detection, could avoid long, expensive and inconclusive amplification trials. Here, we report the proof of concept of a SERRS sandwich-hybridization assay that leads to the detection of a specific chamois DNA. This SERRS assay reveals its potential as a non-enzymatic alternative technology to DNA amplification methods (particularly the PCR method) with several applications for species detection. As the amount and type of damage highly depend on the preservation conditions, the present SERRS assay would enlarge the range of samples suitable for DNA analysis and ultimately would provide exciting new opportunities for the investigation of ancient DNA in the fields of evolutionary biology and molecular ecology, and of altered DNA in food frauds detection and forensics.
Molecular anthropology has been widely used to infer the origin and processes of the colonization of Polynesia. However, there are still a lack of representative geographical studies of Eastern Polynesia and unchallenged genetic data about ancient Polynesian people. The absence of both of these elements prevents an accurate description of the demographic processes of internal dispersion within the Polynesian triangle. This study provides a twofold analysis of ancient and modern mtDNA in the eastern part of French Polynesia: the Gambier Islands. The paleogenetic analyses conducted on burials of the Temoe Atoll (14(th) -17(th) centuries) represent the first fully authenticated ancient human sequences from Polynesia. The identification of the "Melanesian" Q1 mtDNA lineage in ancient human remains substantiates the Near Oceanic contribution to the early gene pool of this region. Modern samples originate from Mangareva Island. Genealogical investigations enable us to reliably identify the conservation of the Melanesian component in Easternmost Polynesia, despite recent European colonization. Finally, the identification of rare mutations in sequences belonging to haplogroup B4a1a1a provides new perspectives to the debate on the internal peopling of the Polynesian region. Altogether, the results laid out in our study put the emphasis on the necessity of controlled sampling when discussing the internal settlement of Polynesia.
The high frequency (around 0.70 worldwide) and the relatively young age (between 14,000 and 62,000 years) of a derived group of haplotypes, haplogroup D, at the microcephalin (MCPH1) locus led to the proposal that haplogroup D originated in a human lineage that separated from modern humans >1 million years ago, evolved under strong positive selection, and passed into the human gene pool by an episode of admixture circa 37,000 years ago. The geographic distribution of haplogroup D, with marked differences between Africa and Eurasia, suggested that the archaic human form admixing with anatomically modern humans might have been Neanderthal.
The rich fossil record of the family Equidae (Mammalia: Perissodactyla) over the past 55 MY has made it an icon for the patterns and processes of macroevolution. Despite this, many aspects of equid phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy remain unresolved. Recent genetic analyses of extinct equids have revealed unexpected evolutionary patterns and a need for major revisions at the generic, subgeneric, and species levels. To investigate this issue we examine 35 ancient equid specimens from four geographic regions (South America, Europe, Southwest Asia, and South Africa), of which 22 delivered 87-688 bp of reproducible aDNA mitochondrial sequence. Phylogenetic analyses support a major revision of the recent evolutionary history of equids and reveal two new species, a South American hippidion and a descendant of a basal lineage potentially related to Middle Pleistocene equids. Sequences from specimens assigned to the giant extinct Cape zebra, Equus capensis, formed a separate clade within the modern plain zebra species, a phenotypicically plastic group that also included the extinct quagga. In addition, we revise the currently recognized extinction times for two hemione-related equid groups. However, it is apparent that the current dataset cannot solve all of the taxonomic and phylogenetic questions relevant to the evolution of Equus. In light of these findings, we propose a rapid DNA barcoding approach to evaluate the taxonomic status of the many Late Pleistocene fossil Equidae species that have been described from purely morphological analyses.
New polymorphism datasets from heterochroneous data have arisen thanks to recent advances in experimental and microbial molecular evolution, and the sequencing of ancient DNA (aDNA). However, classical tools for population genetics analyses do not take into account heterochrony between subsets, despite potential bias on neutrality and population structure tests. Here, we characterize the extent of such possible biases using serial coalescent simulations.
We have developed a fully enzyme-free SERRS hybridization assay for specific detection of double-stranded DNA sequences. Although all DNA detection methods ranging from PCR to high-throughput sequencing rely on enzymes, this method is unique for being totally non-enzymatic. The efficiency of enzymatic processes is affected by alterations, modifications, and/or quality of DNA. For instance, a limitation of most DNA polymerases is their inability to process DNA damaged by blocking lesions. As a result, enzymatic amplification and sequencing of degraded DNA often fail. In this study we succeeded in detecting and quantifying, within a mixture, relative amounts of closely related double-stranded DNA sequences from Rupicapra rupicapra (chamois) and Capra hircus (goat). The non-enzymatic SERRS assay presented here is the corner stone of a promising approach to overcome the failure of DNA polymerase when DNA is too degraded or when the concentration of polymerase inhibitors is too high. It is the first time double-stranded DNA has been detected with a truly non-enzymatic SERRS-based method. This non-enzymatic, inexpensive, rapid assay is therefore a breakthrough in nucleic acid detection.
The lava mouse, Malpaisomys insularis, was endemic to the Eastern Canary islands and became extinct at the beginning of the 14(th) century when the Europeans reached the archipelago. Studies to determine Malpaisomys phylogenetic affinities, based on morphological characters, remained inconclusive because morphological changes experienced by this insular rodent make phylogenetic investigations a real challenge. Over 20 years since its first description, Malpaisomys phylogenetic position remains enigmatic.
The goat (Capra hircus) is one of the earliest domesticated species ca. 10,500 years ago in the Middle-East where its wild ancestor, the bezoar (Capra aegagrus), still occurs. During the Neolithic dispersal, the domestic goat was then introduced in Europe, including the main Mediterranean islands. Islands are interesting models as they maintain traces of ancient colonization, historical exchanges or of peculiar systems of husbandry. Here, we compare the mitochondrial genetic diversity of both medieval and extant goats in the Island of Corsica that presents an original and ancient model of breeding with free-ranging animals. We amplified a fragment of the Control Region for 21 medieval and 28 current goats. Most of them belonged to the A haplogroup, the most worldwide spread and frequent today, but the C haplogroup is also detected at low frequency in the current population. Present Corsican goats appeared more similar to medieval goats than to other European goat populations. Moreover, 16 out of the 26 haplotypes observed were endemic to Corsica and the inferred demographic history suggests that the population has remained constant since the Middle Ages. Implications of these results on management and conservation of endangered Corsican goats currently decimated by a disease are addressed.
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