Dec 24, 2011

Paleogenomics of archaic hominins

Current Biology : CB
Carles Lalueza-Fox, M Thomas P Gilbert


In order to understand the genetic basis for the evolutionary success of modern humans, it is necessary to compare their genetic makeup to that of closely related species. Unfortunately, our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, are evolutionarily quite distant. With the advent of ancient DNA study and more recently paleogenomics - the study of the genomes of ancient organisms - it has become possible to compare human genomes to those of much more closely related groups. Our closest known relatives are the Neanderthals, which evolved and lived in Europe and Western Asia, from about 600,000 years ago until their disappearance around 30,000 years ago following the expansion of anatomically modern humans into their range. The closely related Denisovans are only known by virtue of their DNA, which has been extracted from bone fragments dating around 30,000 to 50,000 years ago found in a single Siberian cave. Analyses of Neanderthal and Denisovan nuclear and mitochondrial genomes have revealed surprising insights into these archaic humans as well as our own species. The genomes provide a preliminary catalogue of derived amino acids that are specific to all extant modern humans, thus offering insights into the functional differe...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Metabolic Process, Cellular
DNA, Mitochondrial
Amino Acids, I.V. solution additive
Science of Morphology
Skeletal System
Genetic Markers
Ancient DNA
Cell Nucleus

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