Scientists decoded the oldest known human DNA

Dec 9, 2013 16:16 IST

The scientists on 4 December 2013 decoded the oldest DNA from ever found 400000 year old thigh bone of human family. This research has expanded the knowledge of the human genetics by 300000 years and also suggests the journey of man evolution.

The thigh bone was found at a burial site Sima de los Huesos (Bone Pit) that was preserved in Spain's northern Sierra de Atapuerca highlands. The researchers have found that the mitochondrial genome of Denisovans belongs to the extinct relatives of Neanderthals in Asia.

The researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have determined an almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a 400000 year old representative of the genus Homo.

The researchers sampled two grams of bone powder extracted from a femur and sequenced the genome of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down along the maternal line. Further, they compared the code with the modern humans, apes, Neanderthals and their sister group, Denisovans. In the result they found that the Spanish hominins were more closely related to the geographically more distant Denisovans than to Neanderthals.

The bone pit (Sima de los Huesos) is a cave site in Northern Spain that has given the largest assembly of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils of the world, which consist of 28 skeletons.

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