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HLA-DR genotyping and mitochondrial DNA analysis reveal the presence of family burials in a fourth century Romano-British Christian cemetery

Voong, CP and Spencer, PS and Navarrete, CV and Turner, D and Hayrabedyan, SB and Crummy, P and Holloway, E and Wilson, MT and Smith, PR and Fernández, N (2017) 'HLA-DR genotyping and mitochondrial DNA analysis reveal the presence of family burials in a fourth century Romano-British Christian cemetery.' Frontiers in Genetics, 8. ISSN 1664-8021

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Abstract

In Colchester, Britain's oldest recorded town, during the Roman period there were areas which were clearly used solely as cemeteries. One o f the most significant is at Butt Road, which includes a late Roman probable Christian cemetery with an associated building, apparently a church, that overlies and developed from a pagan inhumation cemetery. DNA was extracted from the long bones (femurs) of 29 individuals, mostly from a large complex of burials centered on two timber vaults. These were thought to comprise a number of family groupings, deduced from osteological analysis, stratigraphical and other considerations. The use of a modified version of the silica-based purification method recovered nanogram quantities of DNA/gram of bone. Two-stage amplification, incorporating primer-extension preamplification-polymerase chain reaction, permitted simultaneous amplification of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes yielded human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR typing of seven samples, with four revealing the infrequent HLA-DR10 genotype. Examination of the control region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) by direct sequencing revealed polymorphisms yet to be reported in the modern population. HLA-DRB typing and mtDNA analysis affirmatively supported kinship among some, if not all, individuals in the "vault complex" and demonstrate a continental European origin of the individuals investigated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: extramural fourth century Romano-British cemetery, family groupings, HLA-DR, mtDNA, Colchester (Camulodunum)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 May 2018 12:26
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2019 00:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21952

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