Special Feature: The Neandertal Genome

In the 7 May 2010 issue of Science, Green et al. report a draft sequence of the Neandertal genome composed of over 3 billion nucleotides from three individuals, and compare it with the genomes of five modern humans. A companion paper by Burbano et al. describes a method for sequencing target regions of Neandertal DNA. A News Focus , podcast segment, and special online presentation featuring video commentary, text, and a timeline of Neandertal-related discoveries provide additional context for their findings.

"Neandertals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-day humans, lived in large parts of Europe and western Asia before disappearing 30,000 years ago. We present a draft sequence of the Neandertal genome composed of more than 4 billion nucleotides from three individuals. Comparisons of the Neandertal genome to the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world identify a number of genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans, including genes involved in metabolism and in cognitive and skeletal development. We show that Neandertals shared more genetic variants with present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-day humans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flow from Neandertals into the ancestors of non-Africans occurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups from each other."

GREEN et al. (2010): A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. Science 328 (5979):710 - 722 doi: 10.1126/science.1188021

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