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Biomolecular archaeology of ancient tuberculosis: response to "Deficiencies and challenges in the study of ancient tuberculosis DNA" by Wilbur et al. (2009)

Donoghue, HD; Hershkovitz, I; Minnikin, DE; Besra, GS; Lee, OYC; Galili, E; ... Bar-Gal, GK; + view all (2009) Biomolecular archaeology of ancient tuberculosis: response to "Deficiencies and challenges in the study of ancient tuberculosis DNA" by Wilbur et al. (2009). J ARCHAEOL SCI , 36 (12) 2797 - 2804. 10.1016/j.jas.2009.09.007. Green open access

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Abstract

It is sixteen years since the first detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA in archaeological specimens, yet the validity of findings continues to be questioned. Rigorous scientific scrutiny and debate is valuable and has led to a coalescence of procedures and precautions amongst those actively engaged in this work. It is disappointing that these good practices are not recognised by certain scientists whose primary expertise is in the related fields of archaeology, palaeopathology, and eukaryote ancient DNA. There is a danger that by constant repetition, disputable and inadequately justified concerns will assume the status of self-perpetuating myths and misunderstandings. We discuss these issues with reference to a recent article in this journal, in which clear peer-reviewed scientific data were specifically targeted as part of a general critique of the field of the palaeomicrobiology of tuberculosis. We believe we have given sufficient evidence and cogent argument to persuade the unbiased reader that the views in the critique by Wilbur et al. are unjustified. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Biomolecular archaeology of ancient tuberculosis: response to "Deficiencies and challenges in the study of ancient tuberculosis DNA" by Wilbur et al. (2009)
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.1016/j.jas.2009.09.007
Keywords:Ancient DNA, Lipid biomarkers, molecular typing, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Palaeopathology, PCR, POLYMERASE-CHAIN-REACTION, MYCOBACTERIUM-TUBERCULOSIS, SKELETAL REMAINS, MOLECULAR ANALYSIS, GENOTYPIC ANALYSIS, MEDIEVAL ENGLAND, COMPLEX DNA, IDENTIFICATION, SAMPLES, BONE
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Infection and Immunity (Division of)

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