Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Detecting and sequencing Mycobacterium tuberculosis aDNA from archaeological remains
Author: Forst, Jannine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 3181
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Tuberculosis has been an important disease throughout human history, shaping countless past populations. The archaeological study of the causative agents of tuberculosis, members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex (MTBC), is hindered by the non-diagnostic nature of tuberculosis-associated skeletal changes. As such, ancient DNA (aDNA) or palaeogenetic analyses have become an important tool for identifying tuberculosis in past populations. However, due to the age and variable preservation of aDNA, there are often issues with sporadic results and false negatives. The overall aim of the work presented here was to use different methods, including traditional target-specific PCR, to identify and detect tuberculosis aDNA in archaeological remains. The main objectives within this overarching aim were to first test a method called whole genome amplification (WGA), used to non-specifically amplify all the DNA within a sample, and its potential to improve the yield of aDNA from skeletal remains (Chapters 3 and 4). To determine the extent of its impact, WGA was used in a comparative context, where each archaeological sample analysed was separately subjected to two methods of MTBC detection - the traditional targeted PCR method and the same method assisted by the initial application of WGA. The results show that applying WGA before the traditional targeted PCR methodology to detect the presence of MTBC pathogens in skeletal remains is only useful and viable in some cases, likely depending on the age and preservation of the sample. The second objective was to use next generation sequencing to obtain more information on the aDNA composition of certain archaeological samples and answer questions beyond the scope of traditional target-specific PCR techniques (Chapter 5). Although most of the sequencing runs were variably unsuccessful, the composition of two samples, both known to probably contain tuberculosis aDNA, could be analysed. The samples both contained similar amounts of mycobacterial aDNA and varying amounts of both human and even potentially human intestinal flora DNA. Finally, the third objective was to determine if MTBC aDNA could be detected in a rib sample from Private William Braine of the lost Franklin Expedition using standard target-specific PCR (Chapter 6). In this case study, no evidence of tuberculosis ancient DNA was found. The work done through-out highlights the difficulties of ancient DNA research and, in Chapter 4, shows the importance of using more than a single sample to evaluate methods for application in palaeogenetic contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ancient DNA ; Archaeology ; Mycobacterium tuberculosis ; Franklin Expedition ; Palaeogenetics ; Whole Genome Amplification