Ancient Mammalian and Plant DNA from Late Quaternary Stalagmite Layers at Solkota Cave, Georgia

M. C. Stahlschmidt, T. C. Collin, D. M. Fernandes, G. Bar-Oz, A. Belfer-Cohen, Z. Gao, N. Jakeli, Z. Matskevich, T. Meshveliani, J. K. Pritchard, F. McDermott, R. Pinhasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Metagenomic analysis is a highly promising technique in paleogenetic research that allows analysis of the complete genomic make-up of a sample. This technique has successfully been employed to archaeological sediments, but possible leaching of DNA through the sequence limits interpretation. We applied this technique to the analysis of ancient DNA (aDNA) from Late Quaternary stalagmites from two caves in Western Georgia, Melouri Cave and Solkota. Stalagmites form closed systems, limiting the effect of leaching, and can be securely dated with U-series. The analyses of the sequence data from the Melouri Cave stalagmite revealed potential contamination and low preservation of DNA. However, the two Solkota stalagmites preserved ancient DNA molecules of mammals (bear, roe deer, bats) and plants (chestnut, hazelnut, flax). The aDNA bearing layers from one of the two Solkota stalagmites were dated to between ~84 ka and ~56 ka BP by U-series. The second Solkota stalagmite contained excessive detrital clay obstructing U-series dating, but it also contained bear bones with a minimum age of ~50 BP uncalibrated years and ancient DNA molecules. The preservation of authentic ancient DNA molecules in Late Quaternary speleothems opens up a new paleogenetic archive for archaeological, paleontological and paleoenvironmental research.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6628
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Ancient Mammalian and Plant DNA from Late Quaternary Stalagmite Layers at Solkota Cave, Georgia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this