Tooth gives up oldest human DNA

By | June 9, 2006

Tooth gives up oldest human DNA

Scientists have recovered DNA from a Neanderthal that lived 100,000 years ago – the oldest human-type DNA so far. It was extracted from the tooth of a Neanderthal child found in the Scladina cave in the Meuse Basin, Belgium. The study, reported in Current Biology, suggests our distant cousins were more genetically diverse than once thought. French and Belgian researchers isolated the genetic material from mitochondria. These are “power pack” structures in cells which contain their own DNA. The scientists decoded the sequence of 123 DNA “letters” (base-pairs, or bp) and compared it with other known Neanderthal DNA sequences from specimens dated between 29,000 and 42,000 years old. “The Scladina sequence has revealed that the genetic diversity of Neanderthals has been underestimated”

Neanderthals lived between 230,000 and 28,000 years ago in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.? … The DNA studies conducted so far suggest little, if any, interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans took place. – bbc

This face reconstruction site is interesting.

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