Joined: Jan. 2006
Caveman's DNA Looks Modern at Science Now.
|By Ann Gibbons|
ScienceNOW Daily News
16 July 2008
When it comes to the extremely difficult task of sequencing caveman DNA, the third time may be the charm for David Caramelli. After two controversial attempts, the biological anthropologist at the University of Florence, Italy, and colleagues claim to have successfully sequenced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the fossils of a Cro-Magnon, a 28,000-year-old European ancestor of living humans. The mtDNA matches that of some modern Europeans but differs from that of Neandertals, shedding light on the fate of these ancient hominids.
More at the link.
ETA: Original paper, A 28,000 Years Old Cro-Magnon mtDNA Sequence Differs from All Potentially Contaminating Modern Sequences, published in PLoS ONE.
DNA sequences from ancient speciments may in fact result from undetected contamination of the ancient specimens by modern DNA, and the problem is particularly challenging in studies of human fossils. Doubts on the authenticity of the available sequences have so far hampered genetic comparisons between anatomically archaic (Neandertal) and early modern (Cro-Magnoid) Europeans.
We typed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable region I in a 28,000 years old Cro-Magnoid individual from the Paglicci cave, in Italy (Paglicci 23) and in all the people who had contact with the sample since its discovery in 2003. The Paglicci 23 sequence, determined through the analysis of 152 clones, is the Cambridge reference sequence, and cannot possibly reflect contamination because it differs from all potentially contaminating modern sequences.
The Paglicci 23 individual carried a mtDNA sequence that is still common in Europe, and which radically differs from those of the almost contemporary Neandertals, demonstrating a genealogical continuity across 28,000 years, from Cro-Magnoid to modern Europeans. Because all potential sources of modern DNA contamination are known, the Paglicci 23 sample will offer a unique opportunity to get insight for the first time into the nuclear genes of early modern Europeans.
Edited by Lou FCD on July 16 2008,18:00
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. - carlsonjok - deprecated
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