Technical note: improved DNA extraction from ancient bones using silica-based spin columns

Am J Phys Anthropol. 1998 Apr;105(4):539-43. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644(199804)105:4<539::AID-AJPA10>3.0.CO;2-1.


We describe a simple method for extracting polymerase chain reaction-amplifiable DNA from ancient bones without the use of organic solvents. Bone powders are digested with proteinase K, and the DNA is purified directly using silica-based spin columns (QIAquick3, QIAGEN). The efficiency of this protocol is demonstrated using human bone samples ranging in age from 15 to 5,000 years old.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones*
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / isolation & purification*
  • Fossils
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry
  • Specimen Handling / methods*


  • Silicon Dioxide
  • DNA