The first molecular identification of Egyptian Miocene petrified dicot woods (Egyptians’ dream becomes a reality)
This is the first work on Egyptian ancient DNA (aDNA) from plant fossil remains. Two aDNA extracts from Miocene petrified dicot woods were successfully obtained, amplified, sequenced and recorded for the first time in the world using a DNA barcoding technique. Internal transcribed spacers (ITS) barcoding is a technique for delimiting and identifying specimens using standardized DNA regions. The two Miocene dicot woods: Bombacoxylon owenii (Malvaceae/Bombacoideae) and
Dalbergioxylon dicorynioides (Leguminosae/Papilionoideae) were collected from the Wadi Natrun area in Egypt and were identified by palaeobotanists on the basis of wood anatomy. The molecular identification by ITS region of Bombacoxylon owenii did not match the wood taxonomic assignation. The molecular identification of
Bombacoxylon owenii suggested that it is more related to the extant genus Ceiba rather than to the extant genus Bombax. In contrast, the molecular identification by ITS of Dalbergioxylon dicorynioides matched the identification of the palaeobotanist (related to extant genus Dalbergia). Therefore, we suggest that this region should be used as a starting point to identify several plant fossil remains and this work will be helpful in solving problems related to the identification of plant fossils.
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