Letter to the Editor, Ancient DNA Methodology: Thoughts from Brian M. Kemp and David Glenn Smith on "Mitochondrial DNA of Protohistoric Remains of an Arikara Population from South Dakota"
Kemp, Brian M.
Smith, David Glenn
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Our paper “Mitochondrial DNA of Protohistoric Remains of an Arikara Population from South Dakota: Implications for the Macro-Siouan Language Hypothesis” [Lawrence et al. 2010 (this issue)] has been reviewed by two scholars, and although we agree with the comments of the second reviewer, we object to the first reviewer’s statement that "the Authors do not use currently accepted methods in ancient DNA studies. the Authors have not followed the now classical stringent standards for the authentications of ancient DNA. Unfortunately, Authors did not do [the following]: (i) test to quantify the preservations of macromolecules (amino acid or collagen), (ii) quantifications of macromolecules, (iii) detections of long amplificates, (iv) amplifications of associated remains (if any), (v) cloning, (vi) independent replications. Further, in this study there is another fundamental question: the impossibility to track down modern DNA human contaminations (see Sampietro et al. 2006) so the results, even though interesting, are not supported by a strong scientific methodology." We believe that the review was unfair and reflects viewpoints that are potentially stifling to future discoveries and progression of the ancient DNA (aDNA) field as a whole.