Denisovan Genome Sequenced from Bone Found in Siberian Cave

February 8, 2012 / Russia, Asia
Denisova Cave, Russia

Photo by ЧуваевНиколай/Wikiepdia

Researchers using a fragment of finger bone that was found in 2008 in the Denisova Cave in Southern Sibiria have successfully sequenced the entire Denisovan genome.

A 2010 draft version of the study revealed that the small fragment of a human finger bone was from an individual of a previously unknown extinct human genus species.

Subsequently dubbed Denisova hominins, after the cave the remains were found in, the new genus species, along with Neandertals, are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans.

Using newly developed techniques, the scientists have now been able to sequence every position of the Denisovan genome approximately 30 times over.

In contrast, with the draft version, which sequenced each position only twice on average, the new results have a much higher resolution. This high quality data allows much more detailed research in the evolution of the genus species, detecting even the small differences that were inherited from this individuals mother and father.

Not only is it the first sequencing of an extinct human genus species, due to the new technology, it also has less errors than the current results of the sequencing of modern humans.

Today the group will make the entire Denisovan genome sequence freely available over the internet.

Entire genome of extinct human decoded from fossil [physorg.com via Tim Morgan]

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Comments (2)

  1. Raz Ben-Yair
    February 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    A fascinating article. The term “Genus” here should probably be changed to “Species”, since this is a distinct species rather than genus relative to moderns humans.

    • Caving News
      February 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      You are most right, Raz. Thanks.

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