Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Collaboration System about NGS Established

My lab established new collaboration system about NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) for future analysis of ancient DNA works with Professor Jong-il Kim, Seoul National University/Macrogene.
They have plenty of experiences and well established system for human genome analysis. We will do aDNA analysis for forthcoming researches on the archaeological specimens worldwide. 
Please see their publication list: CLICK TO LINK

Monday, January 18, 2016

Jong Ha Hong got his Master of Science degree

Jong Ha Hong, the graduate student of my lab, got his Master of Science degree this year.

Master thesis:

Mitochondrial DNA D-loop Analysis of Bos taurus bones collected from Cheonggyecheon Archaeological site of Joseon Dynasty.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Publication-.

Our Paper, "Calcified Pulmonary Nodules Identified in a 350-Year-Old-Joseon Mummy: the First Report on Ancient Pulmonary Tuberculosis from Archaeologically Obtained Pre-modern Korean Samples" is published in Journal of Korean Medical Science.

PDF is here.

We found calcified pulmonary nodules in a middle-aged female mummy discovered from 350-yr-old Joseon tomb of Korea. In the CT scan, we found six radiopaque nodules in right lung, through the levels of thoracic vertebrae 1 to 6. We also found presumptive pleural adhesions in right thoracic cavity of CT images. We re-confirmed radiological findings by our post-factum dissection on the same mummy. By the differential diagnosis, we speculate that the radiopaque calcification nodules and associated pleural adhesion could have been caused by tuberculosis. This is the first-ever report on the pulmonary tuberculosis identified in archaeologically obtained, pre-modern Korean samples.

NGS supports our work


1. For many anthropologists worldwide, nothing is more important than the inhabitants of the Harappan (Indus Valley) civilization. In fact, there have been a number of spirited debates on the IVC. Some have contended that it might have been part of Harappan society, while others have disputed that. In previous investigations, researchers were unable to draw any definitive conclusions on the question of the in situ continuity of the Harappan people’s biological traits. Meanwhile, the health and disease status of the Harrapan people also has long attracted anthropologists’ interest. For the time being, the Harappan people, in their biological and anthropological aspects, remain shrouded in mystery.  

2. The Rakhigarhi site, the ancient ruins at which are much larger and older than those in any IVC cities, is located in the Indian state of Haryana. It is situated near the site of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which is believed to have dried up by 2000 BC. Indian archaeologists believe that Rakhigarhi represents all of the IVC’s phases, Early, Mature and Late. Although the previous findings on Rakhigarhi, including a wide road, granary and brick-lined drain, show it to have been well-planned and consistent with other IVC sites, it remains, for the most part, incompletely excavated. Now though, after long-term preliminary investigations, additional Rakhigarhi sites have begun to be excavated by Deccan College. One of the most important discoveries thus far is a Mature-Harappan-period cemetery. In our preliminary excavations of some of the many graves (date-estimated to 4,500 BP) therein, we have identified a number of human skeletons. More excavations currently are scheduled for this cemetery.

3. As anthropology specialists, our team has participated in the Rakhigarhi excavations from the outset. As regards our plans for the relevant human remains, they will be collected via a procedure specifically designed to minimize contamination by modern DNA. They will then be moved to and maintained at Deccan College. Subsequent anthropological analyses will proceed as follows: 1) gross anthropological study (determination of sex and age, identification of any pathological signs in bones, forensic investigation for race determination, etc.); 2) paleoparasitological study (analysis of soil sediments on hipbones, determination of any presence of parasite eggs, drawing of tentative conclusions on parasitic infection of Harappan people); 3) aDNA mitochondrial, Y-chromosomal, autosomal and stable-isotope analyses (obtainment of information on maternal and paternal lineages); 4) first-ever facial reconstruction of approximately 4,500-year-old Harappan person, a member of  one of the greatest civilizations in human history (based on DNA and forensic data obtained in this study). It is anticipated that by the proposed research and the various advanced techniques entailed, a full and very detailed biological and anthropological picture of the Harappan people will be obtained.     

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Invited Lecture for ASTRA 2016, Pune


Systemized Collaboration of Scientists: A doorstep to Success in Archaeological Investigation 

Dong Hoon Shin

Bioanthropology and Paleopathology Lab, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

Modern archaeology could not be made on simple digging and subsequent analysis of cultural remains. Rather, various kinds of scientific techniques have been applied to reconstruct the ancient people’s life much vividly. For the past several decades, many of scientists tried to reveal the information remained hidden in the samples from the archaeological sites, using the techniques of ancient DNA and stable isotope analyses, geological and pollen analyses, gross structural and chemical examinations, radiological analysis etc. By archaeological scientists’ efforts, each analysis has become very efficient tool for archaeology, providing invaluable information that could not be obtained by any of conventional studies. However, for making the scientific studies on archaeological samples much efficiently, ‘systemization of each analysis tool’ looks very important. In fact, close cooperation between each scientist studying on the same case must be done for the success in archaeological investigations. In-depth discussions between archeologists and scientists could guarantee a series of analysis to be done harmoniously, but strictly in order of priority, until the final conclusion could be drawn from the archaeological case.

My Lecture Video for Kavli Frontiers of Science Posted

Second Korean-American Symposium

Korean Academy of Science and Technology – U.S. National Academy of Sciences 

June 16-18, 2015



Biomedical Studies on Health and Disease Status of Our Ancestors

Dong Hoon Shin, Seoul National University School of Medicine

Over the past years, we have attempted to build an ancient human sample collection consisting of specimens obtained from Joseon tombs (1392-1910 CE) of Korea. A series of our investigations of the Joseon samples have revealed important scientific information concerning the lives of pre-modern Korean people though this approach is a relatively new discipline in this country. Actually, various biomedical researches were undertaken on the samples to reveal the specific diseases prevailing in a pre-modern Korean population.
Such diseases include dental caries, tumor, congenital disorders, Rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic injuries, periostitis, degenerative disease, atherosclerosis, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and various helminthic infections. Of the techniques we used in the studies, ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis attracted keen attention from the scientific community in Korea. While aDNA analysis enables us to obtain invaluable genetic profiles from ancient human samples unearthed in archaeological fields, aDNA of various pathogens were also amplified with the archaeological samples, by which we can get the solid evidence for hypothesis about their molecular evolution in history. Our scientific information can be very significant because it is entirely original and not to be commonly found in any library resource for historians. By the biomedical data that could not be easily obtained from the contemporary materials, a comprehensive view about a vivid glimpse of the pre-modern Korean people’s lives can be successfully acquired. In South Korea, aDNA analysis becomes more and more instrumental in reconstructing the health and disease status of our ancestors using firm scientific evidences.

To see lecture video, click banner below