Gran Canaria (Espagne) : Ancient DNA in archaeological wheat grains: preservation conditions and the study of pre-Hispanic agriculture
Ancient DNA in archaeological wheat grains: preservation conditions and the study of pre-Hispanic agriculture on the island of Gran Canaria (Spain)
Hugo R. Oliveira, Peter Civáň, Jacob Morales, Amelia Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Diane L. Lister, Martin K. Jones
The recovery of ancient DNA from archaeological wheat samples under different preservation conditions was assessed using a number of genetic markers. It was possible to amplify nuclear DNA from desiccated grains but not from charred. The desiccated grain was from a pre-Hispanic grain silo in Gran Canaria and showed excellent DNA preservation, enabling the amplification of the ribosomal DNA markers IGS and ITS, the upstream region of the HMW-glutenin locus and single-locus nuclear microsatellites. Our results demonstrated the presence of both durum and bread wheat in an assemblage of naked grain. We were also able to identify different genotypes in durum wheat and compare these with extant landraces, providing insights into the agrarian practices of the ancient Canarians and the origin of their crops.
► DNA was extracted from archaeological wheat samples. ► Good preservation was found in an assemblage of naked wheat from a pre-Hispanic silo in Gran Canaria. ► Both bread and durum wheats were identified using molecular methods. ► Amplification of microsatellite markers permitted the identification of genotypes.