Saturday, December 7, 2013

Human DNA 400 000 years: an "exciting" discovery - Le Nouvel Observateur

human DNA 400 000 years: a discovery

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“It’s incredibly exciting! ” Svante Pääbo, director of the Max Planck Institute (Germany) known worldwide for his work on the genetics of hominids, not yet returned. The oldest DNA in the world has been sequenced. Dating back 400 000 years, it has actually been restored from a bone found in a Spanish cave.

But the discovery does not stop there, because this bone has revealed his secrets. He shows amazing genetic relationships among our ancestors lines. This genuine scientific achievement, revealed Wednesday in the journal Nature could allow us to go back in time enough to monitor the genetic evolution of men. These results show that we can now “studying the DNA of our ancient human ancestors hundreds of thousands of years. This is incredibly exciting! “Says Svante Pääbo.

In the” bone pit “

This is an international team of researchers has succeeded to extract and analyze DNA 400 000 years old on a femur found in the Sima de los Huesos (“the pit of bones” Atapuerca, northern Spain). Arriving in this place full of history, scientists thought your hands on a housing deposit of bones of the most primitive forms of Neanderthal men, even their ancestor Homo heidelbergensis .

Until now, the oldest human genome sequenced was aged “only” .70 000 to 80 000 years. He belonged to a member of a girl group of primitive hominids, the “Men of Denisova,” close cousins ??of Neanderthals and modern humans, who provided some of their genes to the current inhabitants of Southeast Asia is, in particular Papous. And it is precisely this line that come from the bone found in the Spanish cave, but even older and with some genetic differences. This unexpected result indicates that the origin of Neanderthals and modern humans followed a complex evolution. I hope that further research will be able to clarify the genetic relationships among hominids Chasm bone on one side and the Neanderthals and the other dénisoviens , said in a statement one authors of the study, Juan Luis Arsuaga, director of the Centre for research on evolution and human behavior Madrid.

scientific prowess
For indeed, although it shares many traits with Dénisoviens this man Sima has actually diverged from this line 700 000 years before our era, the study said. Thus, this feat “paves the way for the analysis of genes of the ancestors of Neanderthals and Dénisoviens” says Svante Pääbo, director of the Max Planck Institute (Germany), specialist hominids.

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