A 5700 year-old human genome and oral microbiome from chewed birch pitch
Jensen, Theis Zetner Trolle; Niemann, Jonas; Iversen, Katrine Højholt; Fotakis, Anna K.; Gopalakrishnan, Shyam; Vågene, Åshild J; Pedersen, Mikkel Winther; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S.; Ellegaard, Martin R; Allentoft, Morten E.; Lanigan, Liam T; Taurozzi, Alberto J; Nielsen, Sofie Holtsmark; Dee, Michael W; Mortensen, Martin; Christensen, Mads C; Sørensen, Søren; Collins, Matthew J; Gilbert, Marcus Thomas Pius; Sikora, Martin; Rasmussen, Simon; Schroeder, Hannes
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNature Communications. 2019, 10 . 10.1038/s41467-019-13549-9
The rise of ancient genomics has revolutionised our understanding of human prehistory but this work depends on the availability of suitable samples. Here we present a complete ancienthuman genome and oral microbiome sequenced from a 5700 year-old piece of chewed birchpitch from Denmark. We sequence the human genome to an average depth of 2.3× andfindthat the individual who chewed the pitch was female and that she was genetically moreclosely related to western hunter-gatherers from mainland Europe than hunter-gatherersfrom central Scandinavia. We alsofind that she likely had dark skin, dark brown hair and blueeyes. In addition, we identify DNA fragments from several bacterial and viral taxa, including Epstein-Barr virus, as well as animal and plant DNA, which may have derived from a recentmeal. The results highlight the potential of chewed birch pitch as a source of ancient DNA.