Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons


Authentic Viking DNA Retrieved From 1,000-year-old Skeletons.

ScienceDaily (May 27, 2008) — Although “Viking” literally means “pirate,” recent research has indicated that the Vikings were also traders to the fishmongers of Europe.  In a new study,  Jørgen Dissing and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, investigated what went under the helmet; the scientists were able to extract authentic DNA from ancient Viking skeletons, avoiding many of the problems of contamination faced by past researchers.

Sampling of teeth for aDNA analysis. The last layer of soil was removed and two teeth extracted while wearing full body suit, hairnet, gloves, shoe covers, and face masks. The teeth were placed in sealed sterile tubes and transported to the aDNA-lab. (Credit: Melchior L et al. Evidence of Authentic DNA from Danish Viking Age Skeletons Untouched by Humans for 1,000 Years. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002214)

Analysis of the Viking DNA showed no evidence of contamination with extraneous DNA, and typing of the endogenous DNA gave reproducible results and showed that these individuals were just as diverse as contemporary humans.

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