M.A. Theses: Kelly Brown, 2016


Developing Minimally Impactful Protocols for DNA Analysis of Museum Collection Bone Artifacts



This study has addressed the issue of destructive testing on museum collection artifacts from two perspectives. Firstly, interviews were conducted with museum professionals from across Canada to identify their specific concerns regarding access to their collections. Secondly, this information was then used to help develop a minimally impactful DNA sampling technique that may lead to greater access to museum collections for research.

The development of this sampling technique involved successive rounds of testing conducted on bone samples including modern samples, unmodified archaeological samples, and museum artifacts from two different museums. The DNA sampling was done using a precision hand drill which produced a small amount of bone powder collected for analysis and species identification.

The results from the study indicate that it was possible to develop a successful, comprehensive and reliable minimally impactful DNA sampling technique that is tailor-made to address the concerns and ethical responsibilities of museum professionals.


Keywords:     Ancient DNA; Bone Sampling; Minimally Destructive; X-ray Imaging; Species Identification; Museum Collections