Genome Sequenced From Ancient Female's Bone From Denisova Cave Show Modern Connection

in biology, omics

Scientists from Max Planck Institute sequenced the nuclear genome from a bone obtained from the cave Denisova in Siberia and conclude that her genome is more closer to the present-day human than the Neanderthals, who also inhabited the cave area the same time.  This data demonstrate a more complex pattern of human migration and evolution.

 The Denisova bone belonged to a female and is considered to be 30000-50,000 years old. The results published in the scholarly journal Nature show that the individual was part of a population long diverged from humans and Neanderthals.

 The sequencing of the nuclear genome from the ancient finger bone shows that the cave dwellers were neither Neandertals nor modern humans, but the individual is from a group that shares a common origin with Neanderthals. The data also suggest that it contributed 4-6% of its genetic material to the genomes of present-day Melanesians.

The authors designated this homin population 'Denisovans' after the cave where the bone was found and further suggest that this population may have been widespread in Asia during the Late Pleistocene epoch.

The mitochondrial DNA sequence of a tooth obtained from the Denisova cave in 2000 was also sequenced and compared with the mitochondrial DNA of the sample from which the genomic DNA was sequenced. The report says that this mitochondrial "sequence differs at two positions from the mitochondrial DNA of the phalanx whereas it differs at about 380 positions from both Neanderthal and present-day humans. The time since the most recent common ancestor of the two mitochondrial DNAs from Denisova Cave is estimated to be 7,500 years, with a 95% upper bound of 16,000 years."

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