Inconsistencies with Neanderthal genomic DNA sequences

October 13, 2007

Two recent papers describing the sequencing of Neanderthal nuclear DNA from fossil bone held promise for finally answering this question. However, the two studies came to very different conclusions regarding the ancestral role of Neanderthals.

Were Neanderthals direct ancestors of contemporary humans or an evolutionary side branch that eventually died out? This is one of the enduring questions in human evolution as scientists explore the relationship of fossil groups, such as Neanderthals, with people alive today. Two recent papers describing the sequencing of Neanderthal nuclear DNA from fossil bone held promise for finally answering this question [1, 2].

However, the two studies came to very different conclusions regarding the ancestral role of Neanderthals. Jeffrey D. Wall and Sung K. Kim from University of California San Francisco now reveal in PLoS Genetics what they found when they reanalyzed the data from the two original studies.

Wall and Kim’s reanalysis reveals inconsistencies between them and they believe that possible contamination with modern human DNA and/or a high rate of sequencing errors compromised the findings of one of the original Neanderthal DNA studies. The authors therefore recommend that we carefully evaluate published and future data before arriving at any firm conclusions about human evolution.

References:

1. Noonan JP, Coop G, Kudaravalli S, Smith D, Krause J, et al. (2006) Sequencing and analysis of Neanderthal genomic DNA. Science 314: 1113-1118.

2. Green RE, Krause J, Ptak SE, Briggs AW, Ronan MT, et al. (2006) Analysis of one million base pairs of Neanderthal DNA. Nature 16: 330-336.

Citation: Wall JD, Kim SK (2007) Inconsistencies in Neanderthal genomic DNA sequences. PLoS Genet 3(10): e175. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030175

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Five surprising things DNA has revealed about our ancestors

Related Stories

Five surprising things DNA has revealed about our ancestors

February 16, 2018

Researchers recently used DNA from the 10,000-year-old "Cheddar Man", one of Britain's oldest skeletons, to unveil what the first inhabitants of what now is Britain actually looked like. But this isn't the first time DNA ...

Neanderthal lineages excavated from modern human genomes

January 29, 2014

A substantial fraction of the Neanderthal genome persists in modern human populations. A new approach applied to analyzing whole-genome sequencing data from 665 people from Europe and East Asia shows that more than 20 percent ...

Recommended for you

Lyman-alpha emission detected around quasar J1605-0112

February 20, 2018

Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument astronomers have discovered an extended and broad Lyman-alpha emission in the form of a nebula around the quasar J1605-0112. The finding is reported February 9 ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bigwheel
1 / 5 (1) Oct 14, 2007
Neanderthals have been found in chain male armored suits with
iron weapons, more crap, this has been known for more than 20 years, they are modern europeans, nothing more.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.