Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Emily Singer

A View from Emily Singer

Partial Draft of Neandertal Genome

New sequencing technologies revive ancient DNA.

  • November 16, 2006

The first chunk of the Neandertal genome was published today in the journal Nature. It reveals that modern humans and our ancient cousins diverged about 500,000 years ago. The sequence, derived from a 38,000-year-old bone fragment found in a cave in Croatia, was made possible by a new sequencing technology developed by 454 Life Sciences . According to Michael Egholm, one of the 454 Life Sciences project’s leaders, who talked to Technology Review in September, the Neandertal genome will shed light on the genetic changes that make us uniquely human. “We believe we can use the Neandertal genome as a signpost for our own genome,” he says. “Our approach is to look at the 35 million base pair differences between chimp and man. Then we ask a simple question: Is Neandertal like chimp or human on those sites?” (Click here for the full text of the Q&A.)

From the paper:

Neanderthals are the extinct hominid group most closely related to contemporary humans, so their genome offers a unique opportunity to identify genetic changes specific to anatomically fully modern humans. We have identified a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil that is exceptionally free of contamination from modern human DNA. Direct high-throughput sequencing of a DNA extract from this fossil has thus far yielded over one million base pairs of hominoid nuclear DNA sequences. Comparison with the human and chimpanzee genomes reveals that modern human and Neanderthal DNA sequences diverged on average about 500,000 years ago. Existing technology and fossil resources are now sufficient to initiate a Neanderthal genome-sequencing effort.

Keep up with the latest in DNA testing at EmTech MIT.
Discover where tech, business, and culture converge.

September 17-19, 2019
MIT Media Lab

Register now
More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to All Access Digital.
  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.