Extraction of fossil DNA

Extraction of fossil DNA

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Credit: JAVIER TRUEBA/MSF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Extraction of fossil DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Prof. Juan Luis Arsuaga (right) and Matthias Meyer (left) from the Max Planck Institute, in front of fossilised Homo heidelbergensis bones found at the Sima de los Huesos site, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. The Centro Mixto de Evolucion y Comportamiento Humanos, Madrid, Spain, directed by Prof. Juan Luis Arsuaga and Svante Paabo's department of genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, collaborated on the sequencing of mitochondrial DNA from a H. heidlebergensis femur (thigh) bone (femur 13). The fossil is over 400,000 years old, making it the oldest human DNA sequence published to date (December 2013). It showed that H. heidelbergensis was more closely related to the Denisovans, an eastern Eurasian hominin, than to Neanderthals.

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