Hominin genome sequenced

Wed 08 Feb 2012

Scientists in Germany said recently they have sequenced nearly all the genome of the Denisova people, an extinct human-like species contemporary with the Neanderthals. The work by the Max Planck Society's Evolutionary Anthropology Institute in Leipzig is the first time that full genetic data has been obtained about any of the archaic hominins which roamed the earth until they were displaced by modern people.

Svante Paabo, leader of the team, said, “We hope biologists will use this genome to track down genetic changes that were important in the development of modern humans' culture and technology.” The group worked with less than 10 milligrams of DNA from the finger bone of a female. The bone fragment, found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia in debris 30,000 to 50,000 years old, was the first evidence of the existence of the vanished species.

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