Thursday, November 16, 2006

Neandertal DNA

According to a report in the WaPo, a new genetic test may unravel the mystery behind the Neandertal DNA code. The story begins:

Unleashing a new kind of DNA analyzer on a 38,000-year-old fragment of fossilized Neanderthal bone, scientists have reconstructed a portion of that creature's genetic code -- a technological tour de force that has researchers convinced they will soon know the entire DNA sequence of the closest cousin humans ever had.

Heady stuff, indeed. These are things the fossil record simply cannot tell us. The study will appear in this week's Science and is sure to touch off a firestorm between the continuity folks and the replacement folks.

"Clearly, we are at the dawn of Neanderthal genomics," said Edward M. Rubin of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif., and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Read the whole thing.

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