Human DNA

There are few human bones of this age, close to 10,000 years old, in Scandinavia, and not all of them have preserve enough DNA for archaeogenetic studies. In fact, the DNA from these newly examine chewing gums is the oldest human DNA sequenced from this area so far. The DNA derive from three individuals, two females and one male, creates an exciting link between material culture and human genetics.

Source for human DNA

Ancient chewing gums are as of now an alternative source for human DNA and possibly a good proxy for human bones in archaeogenetic studies. The investigate pieces come from Huseby-Klev; so an early Mesolithic hunter-fisher site on the Swedish west coast. The sites excavation was in the early 1990’s; but at this time it was not possible to analyse ancient human DNA at all, let alone from non human tissue.

When Per Persson and Mikael Maininen propose to look; so for hunter gatherer DNA in these chewing gums from Huseby Klev we were hesitant; but really impress that archaeologists took care during the excavations; also preserve such fragile material,” says Natalija Kashuba; who was affiliate to The Museum of Cultural History; so in Oslo when she perform the experiments in cooperation with Stockholm University.

“It took some work before the results overwhelmed us; so as they understood that they stumble into this almost ‘forensic research‘, sequencing DNA from these mastic lumps; which were spat out at the site some 10,000 years ago!” says Natalija Kashuba. Today Natalija is a Ph.D. student at Uppsala University.

Close genetic affinity

The results show that, genetically, the individuals whose DNA; so was find share close genetic affinity to other hunter-gatherers in Sweden and to early Mesolithic populations from Ice Age Europe. However, the tools produce at the site were a part of lithic technology bring to Scandinavia from the East European Plain, modern day Russia.

This scenario of a culture and genetic influx into Scandinavia; so from two routes was propose in earlier studies, and these ancient chewing gums; which provides an exciting link directly between the tools and materials use and human genetics. Emrah Kirdök at Stockholm University conduct the computational analyses of the DNA. “Demography analysis suggests that the genetic composition of Huseby Klev individuals show more similarity to western hunter gatherer populations than eastern hunter-gatherers.

“DNA from these ancient chewing gums have an enormous potential; so not only for tracing the origin and movement of peoples long time ago; but also for providing insights in their social relations, diseases and food.,” says Per Persson at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. “Much of our history is visible in the DNA we carry with us; so we try to look for DNA where ever we believe we can find it,” says Anders Götherström. The study is publish in Communications Biology.