This paper describes our recent attempt to isolate and analyse DNA from old plant remains of the common peatmoss Sphagnum fuscum retrieved from a peat core collected in the mire Fuglmyra, in central Norway. DNA was recoverable and usable from subfossilized (10-450 years old) plant remains of the peat-moss. A chloroplast (trnL) and two nuclear (ITS2 and RAPDf) regions were co-amplified from 80 samples of different ages. The RAPDf region was the only variable one with three different haplotypes found among five samples. Comparison of the ancient sequences with modern sequences found in the extant population occurring at the same site ascertained a genetic link between modem and fossil samples of this species. This retrieval of ancient DNA from subfossilized moss remains isolated from peat cores has important implications for the palaeoecology of peatmosses by allowing direct estimates of plant population dynamics in space and time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas