What does my DNA have to do with Ötzi?

(c) South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

What does my DNA have to do with Ötzi?

 

As a part of “Science Week” at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, two classes from the Bolzano Realgymnasium learned how to establish degrees of kinship between themselves and population groups from around the world using their own DNA. In addition they learned how their DNA relates to people who lived in the past, such as Ötzi or the Neanderthals.

They started with tough laboratory work: The prerequisite for the experiment was to extract their own DNA from their cheek pouch cells and amplify it so that it could be examined.

After all DNA samples had been sequenced by a professional laboratory in Germany, the exciting part of the workshop began: first, the comparison and analysis of their own DNA with that of other populations from around the world and second, the comparison with the past in the form of Neanderthals or Ötzi’s DNA. Well, to be more precise, actually with his mother. The nuclear DNA used in the analysis wasn’t inherited from fathers, but from the mitochondrial DNA we all receive from our mothers, which is easier to extract.

Their exciting results won’t be revealed at this point. The students will present them during the “Long Night of Research” on Friday 27.9.2019 in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology from 5pm-10pm.

The workshop was made possible in cooperation with the DNA Learning Center in New York.

Professor: Dr. Uwe Hilgert.
Instructor at the Realgymnasium: Dr. Claudia Zander

Photos: (c) South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

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