Extraction of fossil DNA

Extraction of fossil DNA

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Credit: JAVIER TRUEBA/MSF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Extraction of fossil DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Sample of material drilled from a fossilised Homo heidelbergensis femur (thigh) bone (femur 13) found at the Sima de los Huesos site, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. The mitochondrial DNA was extracted and sequenced. 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. 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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