The Neandertal Draft Genome

Every time big anthropology news has come out in the last year or so, I’m too busy and drowned under the sea of books and notes for my upcoming exams to immerse myself in it. This happened with Ardipithecus last fall, and now with the draft of the Neandertal genome coming out tomorrow, I can’t help but feel a bit left out. The complete mitochondrial Neandertal genome was released a little under 2 years ago… and now because of high throughput sequencing technology, the draft genome is now complete.

Currently, Science has put up a special section of their website dedicated to this. The news agencies are having issues with embargoes and what not, they put up articles and then take them down. But the word is out, Green and Pääbo’s project to sequence the Neandertal genome is out and there are some interesting findings:

  • The comparison of 3 Neandertal samples to 5 modern human genomes showed that Neandertal genome is closer to some populations of modern humans than others
  • About 10 loci had distinctly non-African hallmarks
  • There’s an attributable 1-4% Neandertal ancestry to non-African modern human populations

There’s a lot more behind this all than I really have time for, unfortunately. So be sure to check out Razib, John Hawks, etc. for all the goodies.

7 thoughts on “The Neandertal Draft Genome

  1. The Neandertal Draft Genome:

    An excellent and intriguing paper.

    After weeks of mind numbing drivel about
    some Australopithecus bones they found
    down a hole in South Africa, it makes a
    change to read something that really is
    related to Human evolution.


  2. I finally had a chance to read through this article and I wrote up my comments on my blog.
    Green and his colleagues demonstrated what scientists can do and what kind of information you can get by applying advanced genomic technology to study of Neanderthal remains, but at the same time, we have to remind ourselves that what the Neanderthal genome tell us is still limited and hypothetical, because of small amount of DNA preserved, possible contamination from modern DNA source, chemical damage on the nucleotides, small coverage of genome, small sample size, and genetic similarity between Neanderthals and modern humans.

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