DNA Extraction and Amplification from Contemporary Polynesian Bark-Cloth
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Background: Paper mulberry has been used for thousands of years in Asia and Oceania for making paper and bark-cloth, respectively. Museums around the world hold valuable collections of Polynesian bark-cloth. Genetic analysis of the plant fibers from which the textiles were made may answer a number of questions of interest related to provenance, authenticity or species used in the manufacture of these textiles. Recovery of nucleic acids from paper mulberry bark-cloth has not been reported before. Methodology: We describe a simple method for the extraction of PCR-amplifiable DNA from small samples of contemporary Polynesian bark-cloth (tapa) using two types of nuclear markers. We report the amplification of about 300 bp sequences of the ITS1 region and of a microsatellite marker. Conclusions: Sufficient DNA was retrieved from all bark-cloth samples to permit successful PCR amplification. This method shows a means of obtaining useful genetic information from modern bark-cloth samples and opens perspectives for the analyses of small fragments derived from ethnographic materials.
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