October 28, 2006
Our DNA, Their DNA and our Common DNA
National Geographic online has an update on the ongoing efforts to sequence the Neandertal (aka Neanderthal) genome. There are two ongoing projects. One, led by James Noonan at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focuses on those sequences that can be compares with modern human DNA. The other, led by Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, seeks to "sequence the entire Neandertal genome within two years"
Preliminary results from Noonan's work indicate that,
- "modern humans and Neandertals' most recent common ancestor probably perished about 400,000 years ago,"
- "Neandertals have contributed surprisingly little to modern humans' genetic makeup."
Of course, if the date of the last common ancestor is correct than it almost follows that Neandertals contributed little to modern human DNA. At least it didn't happen in Europe.
This work is extremely difficult and I am sure that opinions will vary as to what it all means as the work proceeds and additional scientists are able to evaluate the preliminary conclusions.
Posted by DuaneSmith at October 28, 2006 11:00 AM | Read more on Paleoanthropology |
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