Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-10 > 1129241538

Subject: Re: [DNA] Secrets of the Dead - 2500 year old Sarmatian mtDNA match with livi...
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 18:12:18 EDT

In a message dated 10/13/05 2:26:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time,

> Another question I had is the German lab used bone DNA to determine the sex
> of the remains.
> Is that reasonable? I thought one needed nuclear DNA for that and that it
> was so degraded as
> to be useless.

It's sometimes possible to determine sex, even on ancient DNA, due to the
fortuitous properties of a gene called amelogenin. Different versions are found
on the X and Y chromosomes, but there's no recombination. A small fragment of
this gene can be amplified, even in degraded samples. The X version is 106bp
long and the Y version is 112bp long. A male sample will thus show fragments
with two different lengths. The length of this fragment is shorter than most STR
amplicons, so being able to determine sex is no guarantee that other kinds of
DNA can be amplified.


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