Sequencing Neanderthal DNA?

This is Way Cool

Two cave bears which died in Austria more than 40,000 years ago have had their nuclear DNA sequenced. The technique used to recover sequences from a tooth and a bone has more than doubled the record for the age of successfully recovered nuclear DNA – and Neanderthals could be next.

Recovering genetic material from ancient remains is fraught with difficulty because DNA degrades rapidly and is easily contaminated with external DNA, for example, by people handling the fossil. Most successful studies have focused on the more abundant mitochondrial DNA, but it is much less informative. In exceptional cases it has been possible to extract nuclear DNA from less than 20,000 years ago, preserved in permafrost or desert environments.

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2 Responses

  1. Cave Bears – afarensis – that IS way cool! Being able to research DNA that old is exciting!

  2. Yes it is. There has to be some more work done before it can be applied to Neanderthals and I don’t think they would be able to sequence the entire genome. But they were able to get 27,000 base pairs from the cave bear – if they can get anything close to that it could resolve the whole Multiregional Continuity/Out of Africa debate.

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