Scientists at the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) extracted DNA from a ten-milligram sample of the ice maiden’s heart. The TIGR team worked with mitochondrial DNA, which offers the best chance of recovery from ancient samples and provides valuable information about genetic origins. They analyzed the DNA with two powerful techniques, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to replicate the DNA and fluorescent DNA sequencing to determine the order of the four bases in the ice maiden’s replicated mitochondrial DNA.

The team examined two mitochondrial DNA D loop sequences, each of which had almost 450 base pairs. Hypervariable region 1 (HV1) was consistent with Haplogroup A, one of the four Native American gene groups. Hypervariable region 2 (HV2) included a unique sequence not found in any of the current mitochondrial DNA databases.