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DNA


  • Originally published 07/31/2013

    Woolly mammoth DNA may lead to a resurrection of the ancient beast

    The pioneering scientist who created Dolly the sheep has outlined how cells plucked from frozen woolly mammoth carcasses might one day help resurrect the ancient beasts.The notional procedure – bringing with it echoes of the Jurassic Park films – was spelled out by Sir Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh-based stem-cell scientist, whose team unveiled Dolly as the world's first cloned mammal in 1996.Though it is unlikely that a mammoth could be cloned in the same way as Dolly, more modern techniques that convert tissue cells into stem cells could potentially achieve the feat, Wilmut says in an article today for the academic journalism website, The Conversation."I've always been very sceptical about the whole idea, but it dawned on me that if you could clear the first hurdle of getting viable cells from mammoths, you might be able to do something useful and interesting," Wilmut told the Guardian....

  • Originally published 07/23/2013

    Adam & Albert May Rewrite the History of Man

    The DNA of Albert Perry may change the story of human origins. Perry, an African-American, approached a DNA testing company to find out more about his ancestry. The results would have come as quite a surprise (had he lived to see them), and have raised questions for geneticists around the world.It turns out that Perry carried a very different type of Y chromosome, never seen before. Every male has a Y chromosome, which is a piece of DNA inherited by sons from their fathers. But, unlike most DNA, the Y chromosome is not shuffled as it is passed down, and changes only slowly through mutation. Tracking these mutations allows scientists to create a genetic tree of fathers and sons going back through time.As a man may have several sons or none, some branches of the genetic tree die out each generation, while others become more common. Going back through time it is therefore inevitable that all modern Y chromosomes must descend from from one man at some point in the past. He has become known as “Y-chromosomal Adam”....

  • Originally published 07/16/2013

    D.N.A. backs lore on pre-Columbian dogs

    BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — Inside a fenced acre on the swampy Lynches River flood plain in central South Carolina, seven of Don Anderson’s primitive dogs spring into high alert at approaching strangers. Medium-sized, they fan out amid his junkyard of improvised habitat: a few large barrels to dig under, an abandoned camper shell from a pickup, segments of black plastic water pipe and backhoed dirt mounds overgrown with waist-high ragweed....Some Carolina dogs still live in the wild, and local people have long thought they were one of the few breeds that predated the European arrival in the Americas: “Our native dog,” as Michael Ruano, another enthusiast who often works with Mr. Anderson, put it. “America’s natural dog.”

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Is distinctive DNA marker proof of Irish genocide?

    Did you know Ireland has the highest concentration of men with the R1b DNA marker? No fewer than 84 per cent of all Irish men carry this on their Y chromosome....“The high prevalence rates have always perplexed Irish geneticists and historians,” says Alastair Moffat of IrelandsDNA. The firm’s research proposes a new hypothesis. There is already established evidence suggesting that the first farmers, (carrying the Y chromosome lineage of ‘G’, which can be found across Europe) arrived in Kerry about 4,350BC.According to IrelandsDNA, the so called ‘G-Men’ may have established farming in Ireland “but their successful culture was almost obliterated by what amounted to an invasion, even a genocide, some time around 2,500BC” (the frequency of G in Ireland is now only 1.5 per cent). “There’s a cemetery in Treille [France], where ancient DNA testing has been carried out and almost all men carry the ‘G’ marker but the women don’t,” says Moffat. They carry native/indigenous markers. This strongly suggests incoming groups of men. Because the R1b marker is still so prevalent in Ireland and is also frequently found in places like France and northern Spain we believed that around 2,500 BC, the R1b marker arrived in Ireland from the south.”...

  • Originally published 05/29/2013

    African roots of the human family tree

    Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- How would you feel knowing you are related to your boss, your neighbor, or better yet your partner? Don't worry, you may have to go back 1,000, 20,000 or maybe even 100,000 years to find a common ancestor, but generally speaking it is true.Advanced DNA testing combined with recently unearthed discoveries are bolstering the belief that if you look back far enough, all living human beings are the descendents of a small, innovative and ambitious set of people on the African continent.With the mapping of the human genome in 2003, combined with thousands of people around the world submitting their DNA for testing, there's now mounting physical proof we all started in Africa before migrating around the world....

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    Making of Europe unlocked by DNA

    A study of remains from Central Europe suggests the foundations of the modern gene pool were laid down between 4,000 and 2,000 BC - in Neolithic times.These changes were likely brought about by the rapid growth and movement of some populations.The work by an international team is published in Nature Communications.Decades of study of the DNA patterns of modern Europeans suggests two major events in prehistory significantly affected the continent's genetic landscape: its initial peopling by hunter-gatherers in Palaeolithic times (35,000 years ago) and a wave of migration by Near Eastern farmers some 6,000 years ago. (in the early Neolithic)...

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Ancient DNA challenges theory early migration

    Recent measurements of the rate at which children show DNA changes not seen in their parents -- the "mutation rate" -- have challenged views about major dates in human evolution.In particular these measurements have made geneticists think again about key dates in human evolution, like when modern non-Africans split from modern Africans. The recent measurements push back the best estimates of these dates by up to a factor of two. Now, however an international team led by researchers at the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, present results that point again to the more recent dates. The new study is published in Current Biology. The team, led by Johannes Krause from Tübingen University, was able to reconstruct more than ten mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs) from modern humans from Eurasia that span 40,000 years of prehistory. The samples include some of the oldest modern human fossils from Europe such as the triple burial from Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic, as well as the oldest modern human skeletons found in Germany from the site of Oberkassel close to Bonn....

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Bones found in Turkey are probably those of Cleopatra's half-sister

    Long-buried bones and a missing monarch. Add some historical notoriety and modern technology and you have a heck of a captivating, science-driven story. Just this month, it was announced that bones found under a parking lot in Leicester, England, belonged to King Richard III. DNA evidence, according to the lead archaeologist at the excavation, proved this “beyond a reasonable doubt.”...

  • Originally published 02/19/2013

    Ancient Teeth Bacteria Record Disease

    DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behaviour from the Stone Age to the modern day.The ancient genetic record reveals the negative changes in oral bacteria brought about by the dietary shifts as humans became farmers, and later with the introduction of food manufacturing in the Industrial Revolution....

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