Friday, July 21, 2006
Neanderthal Genome To Be Deciphered: The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and 454 Life Sciences Corporation, in Branford, Connecticut, have announced an ambitious plan to complete a first draft of the Neandertal genome within the next two years.
Prof Svante Paabo, Director of the Institute's Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, and Dr. Michael Egholm, Vice-President of Molecular Biology for 454 Life Sciences will jointly direct the project, made possible by financing from the Max Planck Society. 454 Life Sciences' newly developed sequencing technology has made it possible to extract and sequence nuclear DNA from Neanderthal fossils, a hopeless task using traditional techniques.
As a trial, the collaborators have already sequenced approximately one million base pairs of nuclear Neanderthal DNA from a 38,000-year-old Croatian fossil.As a trial, the collaborators have already sequenced approximately one million base pairs of nuclear Neanderthal DNA from a 38,000-year-old Croatian fossil.
This August marks the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the first Neanderthal fossil in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf, Germany.