Ancient DNA refers to DNA which can be recovered and analyzed from clinical, museum, archaeological and paleontological specimens. Ancient DNA ranges in age from less than 100 years to tens of millions of years. The study of ancient DNA is a young field, but it has been revolutionized by the application of polymerase chain reaction technology, and interest is growing very rapidly. Fields as diverse as evolution, anthropology, medicine, agriculture, and even law enforcement have quickly found applications in the recovery of ancient DNA. This book contains contributions from many of the "first generation" researchers who pioneered the development and application of ancient DNA methods. Their chapters present the protocols and precautions which have resulted in the remarkable results obtained in recent years. The range of subjects reflects the wide diversity of applications that are emerging in research on ancient DNA, including the study of DNA to analyze kinship, recovery of DNA from organisms trapped in amber, ancient DNA from human remains preserved in a variety of locations and conditions, DNA recovered from herbarium and museum specimens, and DNA isolated from ancient plant seeds or compression fossils. Ancient DNA will serve as a valuable source of information, ideas, and protocols for anyone interested in this extraordinary field.