Genetic Archaeology
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to GeneticArchaeology.com RSS Fee Subscribe


More Articles
Galactic serial killerGalactic serial killer

Tiny crystals to boost solarTiny crystals to boost solar

A new species of horseshoe worm discovered in Japan after a 62 year gapA new species of horseshoe worm discovered in Japan after a 62 year gap

Domain walls in nanowires cleverly set in motionDomain walls in nanowires cleverly set in motion

Earthquake simulation tops 1 quadrillion flopsEarthquake simulation tops 1 quadrillion flops

Babies prefer fairness -- but only if it benefits them -- in choosing a playmateBabies prefer fairness -- but only if it benefits them -- in choosing a playmate

Positive, negative thinkers' brains revealedPositive, negative thinkers' brains revealed

Ancient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secretsAncient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secrets

Future computers that are 'normally off'Future computers that are 'normally off'

An ultrathin collagen matrix biomaterial tool for 3D microtissue engineeringAn ultrathin collagen matrix biomaterial tool for 3D microtissue engineering

Friedreich's ataxia -- an effective gene therapy in an animal modelFriedreich's ataxia -- an effective gene therapy in an animal model

Chikungunya poised to invade the AmericasChikungunya poised to invade the Americas

A new twist makes for better steel, researchers findA new twist makes for better steel, researchers find

Renewable energy market share climbs despite 2013 dip in investmentsRenewable energy market share climbs despite 2013 dip in investments

Research suggests autumn is ending later in the northern hemisphereResearch suggests autumn is ending later in the northern hemisphere

'Unzipping' poplars' biofuel potential'Unzipping' poplars' biofuel potential

Sniff study suggests humans can distinguish more  than 1 trillion scentsSniff study suggests humans can distinguish more than 1 trillion scents

Study finds gaming augments players' social livesStudy finds gaming augments players' social lives

A breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technologyA breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoringOff the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring

Overcoming structural uncertainty in computer modelsOvercoming structural uncertainty in computer models

Monkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier studyMonkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier study

Researchers developed world's first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drugResearchers developed world's first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drug

Protein called YAP gives blood vessels strength, shapeProtein called YAP gives blood vessels strength, shape

Strengthening learning in children: Get outside and playStrengthening learning in children: Get outside and play

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Turning back the clock on aging muscles?Turning back the clock on aging muscles?

Gecko-inspired adhesion: Self-cleaning and reliableGecko-inspired adhesion: Self-cleaning and reliable

New study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmetsNew study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmets

Neanderthal Genome Video Update (4/25/2007)

Tags:
neanderthals, interbreeding, genomics, anthropology

Nature has put a wonderful short set of videos on their web site about the Neanderthal Genome Project. The project, which hopes to decode and publish the Neanderthal Genome, within a couple years, is steadily making progress, and is releasing new information in regular intervals. You can read some previous articles about Neanderthals here.

The videos, which you can find here in Nature's Video Archive, are broken up into 4 sections: Introduction, New Techniques, Analysis, and Conclusions:

Introduction

The introduction goes into the whys of the whole project. Why sequence Neanderthal DNA? Because Neanderthals are the closest relatives to modern humans, what we can learn about their DNA will ultimately tell us a lot about our own DNA. Why did the Neanderthals die out? The fact is, we don't know. Several theories exist, but their isn't enough evidence to make any one of them seem a likely winner. By sequencing Neanderthal DNA, we may be able to find out if their extinction was due to genetic diseases, or susceptibility to viruses, or possibly even diet and nutrition. It may even lead to a new understanding of genetic diseases in modern humans.

The introduction also interviews three of the individuals working on the project. These guys must be loving life. I can't imagine working on a project that is both as exciting as genetic archaeology, while at the same time as mind numbingly boring as waiting for a machine to spit out a chunk of sequenced DNA. I'm not sure I could handle the wait. The folks introduced are:

  • Ed Green, Computational Biologist
  • Johannes Krause, Biochemist
  • Adrian Briggs, Molecular Biologist

New Techniques

Because Neanderthal DNA is several tens of thousands of years old, it has degraded while at the same time has been contaminated by other organisms which have come into contact with the remains. Using a new shotgun technique, they are extracting and amplifying all of the DNA, and slowly stitching it back together. Though this process should be much faster at collecting the DNA, it will undoubtedly take a lot of time on the analysis process.

They claim to have decoded 1 million base pairs, which sounds like a lot, but is really a drop in a lake. If the Neanderthal DNA is similar in number to humans, then they still have a REALLY long way to go. Humans have approximately 3 billion DNA base pairs.

Analysis

In the Analysis section of the videos, they talk more about the techniques for extracting the DNA. This isn't surprising though since analysis can't really being until a majority of the DNA has been extracted and sequenced.

They talk more about how they separate each DNA sequence then amplify the DNA, so that they have millions of copies to study. They also explain how they intend to remove contaminated DNA from the final sequence, during the analysis portion.

They didn't talk much about the 454 Life Sciences sequencing machines they are using, but I imagine that is because they are under a non-disclosure agreement of some kind. These new machines are using a very different method of DNA extraction, than those used on the Human Genome Project and are being donated (along with support) to the project by 454 Life Sciences. Hopefully more will be discussed about them in the future.

Conclusions

The conclusions portion of the videos, talks about whether humans and Neanderthals interbred, or more specifically if gene flow occurred between both species. The reason for this continuing question, is that humans seem to have so many unique abilities like culture and language, that scientists wonder when we learned them.

Did Neanderthals have language? The debate will probably continue long after the Neanderthal Genome is sequenced, but it will allow for comparative analysis. In previous articles about genes and intelligence, genes for memory, intelligence and other neuro-genes have been identified, and will certainly be targets for these comparative studies.

Though these videos were wonderful, I can only hope a more information continues to come out of this project on a regular basis.

Post Comments:

Search

New Articles
Does germ plasm accelerate evolution?

Faithful allies since the CretaceousFaithful allies since the Cretaceous

Ferns borrowed genes to flourish in low lightFerns borrowed genes to flourish in low light

Study tests theory that life originated at deep sea ventsStudy tests theory that life originated at deep sea vents

Scientists firm up origin of cold-adapted yeasts that make cold beerScientists firm up origin of cold-adapted yeasts that make cold beer

Lactase persistence alleles reveal ancestry of southern African Khoe pastoralists

Examination of a cave-dwelling fish finds a possible genetic link to human disordersExamination of a cave-dwelling fish finds a possible genetic link to human disorders

New research initiative investigates gene regulation in evolution and development

The Neanderthal in usThe Neanderthal in us

The human 'hairless' gene identified: One form of baldness explained

Going batty for jumping DNA as a cause of species diversity

Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Female fly genomes also populated with de novo genes derived from ancestral sequences

Computing with slime

The first insects were not yet able to smell wellThe first insects were not yet able to smell well



Archives
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
June 2005
October 2004
July 2001


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.