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Title: The effects of preparation and conservation treatments on DNA
Author: Eklund, J. A.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Both human and animal remains are held in a variety of museum collections including, but not limited to: art, archaeological, anthropological, ethnographic, biological, zoological, palaeontological, geological, anatomical and medical collections. Little is known about the effects of chemical preparation and conservation treatments, administered either in the field or in the museum, on DNA in skeletal and soft tissues. Treatments administered within different disciplines are known to vary, but little comparative research has been carried out to date. A literature review was undertaken to document and compare preparation and conservation approaches within these different fields. A database was compiled of published past treatments used for the following purposes: acid preparation, adhesive, adhesive for spirit collections, barrier coat, bleaching agent, chelating agent, cleaning agent, consolidant, degreasing agent, dry soft tissue preservative, drying agent, finishing material, fungicide, moulding/casting material, packing material, pesticide, photographic aid, sealant, skeleton preparation, solvent, and wet soft tissue preservative. Some of the most commonly and best documented of these materials were then used to assess their effects on DNA by treating DNA fragments of known length in vitro. A case study was also carried out on ancient and recent Egyptian animal mummies to assess the effects of the mummification process on DNA. It was found that the majority of treatments tested in this study were damaging to DNA, but a few, primarily organic solvents, were not. Basic mummification consisting of an ethanol wash and desiccation using natron was also found neither to be damaging to DNA in the short-term nor to inhibit amplification by PCR. The results of this research will be useful both in determining collection materials likely to be more or less suitable for DNA analysis and in suggesting preparation and conservation materials and methods suitable for DNA preservation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available