Scientists find secrets hidden in parchment

December 8, 2014 3:56 PM

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Scientists find secrets hidden in parchment

Plenty of historical knowledge comes from writings on parchment—but now, researchers are learning about the past using the parchment itself. DNA analysis of the writing surface is revealing genetic information about the animals used to make it, and how their genomes differ from similar animals today, according to research published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

"Wool was essentially the oil of times gone by, so knowing how human change affected the genetics of sheep through the ages can tell us a huge amount about how agricultural practices evolved," says a researcher.

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