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Neanderthal Park

Via plime: Discovery News reports on the successful sequencing of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA. Neanderthal Park is not far behind:

Geneticist David Reich at the Harvard Medical School also agrees that the newly sequenced genome “is exciting and important.”

“The most striking thing about the paper is that it shows that the authors are able to get an extremely reliable DNA sequence out of a (38,000-year-old) Neanderthal fossil especially when they do a large amount of DNA sequencing,” Reich told Discovery News, mentioning that it then “becomes obvious that the sequence the authors are obtaining is correct.”

Green and his team are already at work on yet another Neanderthal genome project — sequencing the complete Neanderthal nuclear genome — that should be finished by the end of the year. It should answer, once and for all, whether or not modern humans and Neanderthals interbred to such a degree that the mixing would have resulted in a Neanderthal genetic contribution to the modern human gene pool.

See John Hawks for more.