Molecular Bioarchaeology 383 - ch.1
4 types of ancient biological molecules: DNA, Proteins, lipids, carbohydrates
4 categories of macromolecules:
nucleic acids (DNA, RNA)- used for:
-identification of biological characteristics (e.g. Sex)
-DNA from different species can be distinguished (e.g. Identify pathogens in a
-RNA is similar but less stable/ less common
Proteins: Can be used to:
- Identify structure
- Identify markers (I.e. Presence of milk residue, hemoglobin in blood, ect...)
Lipids (fatty acids):
-Used as a species marker because they are very unique/ specific to particular
species (e.g. Used to identify a vegetable or meat that was prepared)
-Used to identify starch in plants, in turn identifying the plant.
Stable Isotope Analysis:
-Ratios of isotopes in certain elements (mainly carbon and nitrogen) are analyzed in
proteins and lipids.
-Can be used to differentiate diets (different diets will have differing ratios).