molecular bioarchology terms


the complete instructions for making an organism, consisting of all the genetic material in that organism's chromosomes


A threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells that carries the genes and functions in the transmission of hereditary information


A discrete unit of hereditary information consisting of a specific nucleotide sequence in DNA (or RNA, in some viruses).

human genome project

An international collaborative effort to map and sequence the DNA of the entire human genome.


Deoxyribonucleic acid; the genetic material that carries information about an organism and is passed from parent to offspring.

base pair

two nucleotides on complementary strands of DNA that form a pair, linked by hydrogen bonds; the pattern of pairing is adenine (A) with thymine (T) and cytosine (C) with guanine (G)


sequence database is an open access, annotated collection of all publicly available nucleotide sequences and their protein translations.

ancient dna

DNA found in archaeological contexts , preserved in ancient remains, bones, plant seeds, mummified tissue, fossils


large and complex molecule with spcific biological function eg lipid, carbohydrate, protein DNA

advantages of DNA versus morphology

exits in allmost all cells/tissues, identical for sam individuals but different for each person, population species, predictable inheritance pattersn , plenty of markers available

preserved DNA

relatively little bigger than 600 bp in length, some 400, mostly 300 bp and shorter are preserved,

process for analyzing aDNA

Bone containing aDNA is ground into powder, incubated, made into bone solution, DNA is extracted, DNA is amplified using PCR, amplified DNA is sequenced.

first aDNA extracted

1980 LAdy Dai preserved DNA extracted from mummified body

first aDNA analyzed

1984 - Quagga -aDNA cloned and seqenced

PCR invented

Karry Mullis 1985

first human fossil aDNA extracted from

1997 NEanderthal

2006 NEanderthal

genome sequenced

structure of DNA

double helix/double Strand, basic unit is a nucleotide with sugar phosphate backbone


nucleotieds added


no nucleotides added (grows from this end)

guanine pairs with


adenine pairs with


thymine pairs with


cytosin pairs with


weaker nucleotide bonds


stronger nucleotide bonds


aDNA addresses questions of :

human evolution, disease and health of past populations, sex determination, kinship relationships , population movements and phylogenetic relationships, flora and fauna of past climates other arch and anth issues,

aDNA is used for forensic purposes

degraded DNA of human tissues/skeleton, trace tissues of endangered animals and plant species. wildlife conservation

aDNA is preserved in:

ancient remains such as archaeological bones, plant seeds, mummified tissues, fossils

aDNA versus Morphological

aDNA can be used to ID to species , population and individual, sex.
- exists in almost all tissues,
-has predictable inheritance patterns.
Morphological id is limited :
sex id can be inconclusive, other id not always possible
- fragmentary,
- burnt/damage

different types of DNA

nuclear, mitochondrial, chloroplast (plants only)

base base links of nucleotides broken by

enzymes , heat

chemical bonds

covalent bonds stronger than hydrogent bonds : sugar phospahte links tronger than base links
C-G Bonds are stronger
A-T bonds are weaker

Denature of DNA molecule

-DNA boiled in solution:
-bonds broken
-melts into single strand
-when cooled single strands collied and complimentary sequences will reassociate to double stranded (hydrogen bonds form)


temperature of melting
"temperature a whic 50% of DNA molecules are single stranded
-Tm is sequence dependant
Tm is greater the longer the sequence
Tm is greater the more c-G within fragment (less A-T)
Tm is less the shorter the sequence
Tm is less the mo


weaker bonds lower Tm


stronger bonds, greater Tm


modify by heat

DNA function

Must be able to...
1. replicate
2. make proteins by : 3 bases = codon : codes for 1 amino acid, amino acids form changes which create proteins
3. coordinate activities of proteins to produce bodies or have some way to translate the info it carries about m

central dogma

genetic information is coded in self-replicatingDNA and undergoes unidirectional transfer to messenger RNAs in transcription which act as templates for protein synthesis in translation

DNA sequence variation

if DNA sequence varies in a gene it can change the protein that is produced by the genetic code (but 1.) if is in a non-coding area will not make a difference 2.) several 3 letter codons can each produce the same protein

Why does DNA need to replicate itself ?

-reproduction of cells
-growth and maintenance
generating sperm and eggs fro reproduction of individuals/ species

chemical polymerization of DNA

Major Components
-fragment of DNA (template)
-DNA Polymerase
-mag nesium for polymerase catalyst
dNTP (precursor for nucleotides - raw material)
-optimal chemical condition (buffer)

coding and non-coding DNA sequences

Humans have 90% non coding sequences "junk " DNA
-10% coding seqenceds
A change in coding seqnece can mean
1.) a protein change
can be acted upon by natural selection
2.) no change if codon is for same protein
a change in non-coding sequence
no effect on

types of DNA

mitochondrial mtDNA chloroplast cDNA, nuclear nDNA

mitochondria mtDNA

-small oval shaped organelles
sites of aerobic respiration
generally major energy production centers in eukaryotes
animal mtDNA geneomes approc 16 kbp
relatively stable

chloroplasts cDNA

chloroplasts are in plants only
larger than mtDNA
sites of photosynthesis
-geneomes are approx 120-200k bp

nuclear DNA

DNA present within the nucleus of a cell. This form of DNA is inherited from both parents.
-2 copies per cell (one from each parent)
-3 billion bp
-mendelian inheritance
-DNA recombination
-lower mutation rate


-single DNA molecule
-thousands of copies per cell
-16k bp
-maternal inheritance
-no recombination
-higher mutation rate


(genetics) an organism or cell having two sets of chromosomes or twice the haploid number


term used to refer to a cell that contains only a single set of chromosomes and therefore only a single set of genes

mendelian inheritance

-the basic principles associated with the transmission of genetic material, forming the basis of genetics, including the law of segregation and the law of independent assortment
-a mendelian trait is determined by 2 copies of the same gene, called alleles


A threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells that carries the genes and functions in the transmission of hereditary information.


describes an individual that has identical alleles for a trait on both homologous chromosomes, as opposed to heterozygous where each allele is different


having dissimilar alleles at corresponding chromosomal loci (expression of trait is determined by dominant allele)


point on the chromosome where the gene is found

maternal inheritance

Genes that are inherited only from the mother, such as mitochondrial genes (all organelles come only from the ovum).

human genome project

An international effort to map the complete human genetic code. This effort was essentially completed in 2001, though analysis is ongoing.

gene databases

Genbank, EMBL, DDBJ - info is pooled and made available for free