Franziska Trede

Title of the Master`s Thesis:

Sonication-based extraction protocol for pathogenic DNA from skeletal material

The evidence for pathogens in historical individuals can be an important indicator for the living conditions of an individual or of whole populations (Herrmann et al. 1990, Baron et al. 1996). As some diseases do not leave specific marks in the skeletal system, the only chance for evidence is a molecular investigation. There are two main factors limiting such investigations. First: the number of specimens available, for example bones, and the reservation of the people in charge to get them sampled for reasons of preservation. Second: the high amount of host DNA in comparison to the pathogenic DNA in extracts prepared conventionally from bone powder.
Therefore, the aim of my thesis will be the development of a minimal invasive sampling protocol for the extraction of pathogenic DNA from historical bone samples, based on the application of ultrasound. On the one hand, this should reduce the amount of skeletal material getting lost. At the same time, the proportion of pathogenic DNA to human host DNA in the extracts will be improved in favor of the pathogenic DNA. Depending on the success, a new tool will be available for the analysis of ancient and historical bone specimens.