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. 2017 May;214(3):924-942.
doi: 10.1111/nph.14470. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Ancient Plant DNA in Lake Sediments

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Ancient Plant DNA in Lake Sediments

Laura Parducci et al. New Phytol. .
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Contents 924 I. 925 II. 925 III. 927 IV. 929 V. 930 VI. 930 VII. 931 VIII. 933 IX. 935 X. 936 XI. 938 938 References 938 SUMMARY: Recent advances in sequencing technologies now permit the analyses of plant DNA from fossil samples (ancient plant DNA, plant aDNA), and thus enable the molecular reconstruction of palaeofloras. Hitherto, ancient frozen soils have proved excellent in preserving DNA molecules, and have thus been the most commonly used source of plant aDNA. However, DNA from soil mainly represents taxa growing a few metres from the sampling point. Lakes have larger catchment areas and recent studies have suggested that plant aDNA from lake sediments is a more powerful tool for palaeofloristic reconstruction. Furthermore, lakes can be found globally in nearly all environments, and are therefore not limited to perennially frozen areas. Here, we review the latest approaches and methods for the study of plant aDNA from lake sediments and discuss the progress made up to the present. We argue that aDNA analyses add new and additional perspectives for the study of ancient plant populations and, in time, will provide higher taxonomic resolution and more precise estimation of abundance. Despite this, key questions and challenges remain for such plant aDNA studies. Finally, we provide guidelines on technical issues, including lake selection, and we suggest directions for future research on plant aDNA studies in lake sediments.

Keywords: ancient plant DNA (aDNA); bioinformatics; environmental DNA (eDNA); high-throughput DNA sequencing; lake sediments; metabarcoding; pollen; shotgun sequencing; taphonomy.

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