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 in the laboratory where mitochondrial DNA from fossilised Homo heidelbergensis bone was extracted and sequenced. The femur (thigh) bone (femur 13) was from the Sima de los Huesos site, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain, and is 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. The work was carried out in a collaboration between 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.

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