Competitive mapping allows for the identification and exclusion of human DNA contamination in ancient faunal genomic datasets

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BackgroundAfter over a decade of developments in field collection, laboratory methods and advances in high-throughput sequencing, contamination remains a key issue in ancient DNA research. Currently, human and microbial contaminant DNA still impose challenges on cost-effective sequencing and accurate interpretation of ancient DNA data.ResultsHere we investigate whether human contaminating DNA can be found in ancient faunal sequencing datasets. We identify variable levels of human contamination, which persists even after the sequence reads have been mapped to the faunal reference genomes. This contamination has the potential to affect a range of downstream analyses.ConclusionsWe propose a fast and simple method, based on competitive mapping, which allows identifying and removing human contamination from ancient faunal DNA datasets with limited losses of true ancient data. This method could represent an important tool for the ancient DNA field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number844
JournalBMC Genomics
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Ancient DNA, DNA contamination removal, Palaeogenomics, Competitive mapping, SEQUENCE, PATTERNS, DECAY, AGE, EXTRACTION, DAMAGE, BONES

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