Bolzano/Bozen, September 27, 2019
What does my DNA have to do with Ötzi?
“Science Week” at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology was completed today. Results will be displayed this night at the “Researcher’s Night” in Bolzano.
As a part of “Science Week” at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, two classes from the Realgymnasium in Bolzano 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 Neanderthals. The students of the 5th high school will present their exciting results during the Long Night of Research on 27.9.2019 at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. The workshop was made possible with help from the DNA Learning Center in NY.
In the first part of the workshop, students learned how to extract DNA from their own cheek pouch cells and to amplify it so that it could be examined. After all DNA samples had been sequenced by a professional laboratory, a journey with an unknown destination began: the comparison of their own DNA with that of other populations from around the world and the comparison with the past in the form of Neanderthals or Ötzi’s DNA. More precisely, it was a comparison with his mother’s DNA. The nuclear DNA that was analyzed was not inherited from fathers, but from the mitochondrial DNA that we all receive from our mothers, which is easier to extract.
The test results are percentages demonstrating degrees of kinship, which allow us to see the relationship between our own DNA and migration patterns around the world. Or testing the validity of theories such as: Do we all come from Africa or did humans originate from different points of the earth at the same time? Students were able to verify this using the DNA Learning Center’s databanks and their own DNA sequences. Some of the high school students will explain their conclusions and the solution to the puzzle this Friday 27.9.2019 at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology as a part of the Long Night of Research.
The remarkable workshop was offered through the scientific cooperation of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology with the DNA Learning Center in New York. The research laboratory and training center is famous in the USA and has made it their mission to show schools, students, and instructors how exciting the topic of DNA is. The introduction to anthropological workshops on the subject of DNA carried out in New York on the topic of Ötzi was illustrated for all of the center’s visitors by a life-sized copy of the Iceman’s mummy. It was made by Paleo-artist Gary Staab in 2016 and will be available for viewing at the Archaeology Museum for a limited time.
Instructor: Dr. Uwe Hilgert, Bio5 Institute, University of Arizona, and DNA Learning Center in New York.
Photo: Laboratory work for their own DNA © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
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