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Irish-led team discover new strand of ancient European human genome

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Irish-led team discover new strand of ancient European human genome

Irish-led team discover new strand of ancient European human genome
November 16
14:28 2015

An international team led by scientists from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Cambridge University in the UK have discovered a new genetic strand of an ancient human European hunter-gatherer descendent.

The discovery of the ancient European human genome was by no means an easy feat given that it is considered notoriously difficult to work with ancient DNA samples as they degrade over time and often vanish before researchers are able to analyse it.

But thankfully, the team were able to locate genomes from the remains of two individuals found in a cave in Georgia, as caves are often the best locations for DNA to be preserved in due to their cool, dry environment.

From their analysis, the genomes discovered in the Georgian caves show the pair lived in the Caucasus thousands of years apart, 13,300 and 9,700 years ago.

And now it appears that among the genomes sequenced is the first ever sequencing of one from the Late Upper Palaeolithic period with the results published today in Nature Communications.

The lead researcher for the TCD team, Prof Daniel Bradley, said of the discovery:

“This is a major new piece in the human ancestry jigsaw, the influence of which is now present within almost all populations from the European continent and many beyond.”

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