Home > Portfolio > Highlights > High Throughput Sequencing to characterise ancient DNA in archaeological Garum remains from the South of Portugal

High Throughput Sequencing to characterise ancient DNA in archaeological Garum remains from the South of Portugal

garum-anfora-1.pngAncient objects are an invaluable source of information to understand history, culture, and commerce habits of past societies. Those containing organic mixtures can provide additional information such as the species present.  

The study of these species is possible through ancient DNA analysis. This DNA is hard to handle due to its low quality and high fragmentation, a result of molecular degradation caused by a combination of factors such as time, temperature, and the presence of free water. Nowadays, the analysis of ancient DNA has become simpler through the power of high-throughput parallel sequencing.

A group of researchers studying a Roman archaeological site in the South Portugal discovered garum remains. Garum was a highly appreciated fermented fish sauce used as a condiment by Romans. In this preliminary study to identify the species used in the garum production, the researchers isolated ancient DNA, amplified mini-barcodes consisting of short fragments of the cytochrome oxidase I mitochondrial gene (COI) and pyrosequenced the amplicons (<320 bp). Comparison of the sequencing reads to a local comprehensive reference library of annotated DNA barcodes from fish and shellfish, to reference libraries from BOLD (Barcode of Life Data System) and to Genbank identified the taxonomy of the species present. Results indicated seven different fish species, with 99 – 100% similarity, all contemporaneous fish species known to be common on the Portuguese coast. 

Landi M, Araújo A, Lobo J, et al. Ancient DNA in Archaeological Garum Remains from the South of Portugal. In: Oliveira C, Morais R, Cerdán ÁM, eds. Chromatography and DNA analysis in archaeology. Esposende: Municipio de Esposende; 2015.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter © 2021 Genoinseq . sitemap powered by Digitalwind | webdesign by Walk