Genome from ancient chewing gum

In a remarkable study, scientists have reconstructed human genome by extracting it from more than 5000 year old “Chewing Gum” from Southern Denmark.  Only the gum was available and no physical remains of the human being did exist. All that the researchers had for constructing the genome was a lump of birch pitch, a tar like substance that was chewed by ancient people as gum.

Though the researchers from the University of Copenhagen had only this sticky substance, they could tell that it was a woman who chewed the gum. Analysing the gum, they could say that it was a woman and also analysed other features. They could also conclude that the lady was probably dark skinned with dark hair and blue eyes.

The sticky substance was found during excavation on Lolland, Associate professor Hannes Schroeder who led the team of researchers said that it was really amazing to reconstruct a complete genome from anything other than a human bone. They also came across plant and animal DNA that corresponded to a recent meal taken by the person. He also said that the DNA was well preserved so that they could recover a complete ancient human genome.

The excavation was done in a region which was the biggest Stone Age in Denmark. It has been said that the people who occupied the region had heavily exploited wild resources and this was reflected in the DNA results


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