Whole Genome Duplication
Dr. Svante Paabo and his research team are dedicated to the study of ancient DNA. The project is financed by the Max Planck Society, which has been part of the group for nearly thirty years. While the team was excavating DenisovaCave located in southern Siberia in 2008, Professors, Anatoly Derevianko and Michail Shunkov from the RussianAcademy of Sciences, discovered a finger bone. The cultural layers at the DenisovaCave showed that human activity at the cave may have started as early as 280,000 years ago. The cultural layer from which the finger bone was found is estimated to be between 30,000 and 50,000 years old. In 2010, Dr. Paabo and his team of scientists presented a draft version of the genome extracted from a small portion of the finger bone. The DNA sequence from the bone indicated that the individual must have come from the Denisovans, an extinct group of humans who are also the closest extinct relations of the present human beings. The Denisovans have a sister group called the Neandertals. Using DNA removed from less than ten milligrams of the finger bone, the research group developed a technology that enabled them to sequence each position within the genome from the cave approximately thirty times more. The technology has a higher resolution level compared to the initial draft they published in 2010 that could only sequence every position of the genome twice. The technology has enabled the team to determine how the Denisovans and the Neandertals relate to the present mankind, but it was not able to show how the specified parts of the genome evolved. In addition, the research team has released a complete version of the genome that makes it possible to distinguish even minute variations between gene copies that an individual has inherited from his parents. According to Dr. Matthias Meyer, the brain behind the technique, the latest version of the genome is of superior quality, with fewer errors than the present human genomes. The group had plans of availing the complete genome sequence on the internet, to the scientific community on February 08, 2012. Towards the end of this year, they also plan to present a paper giving a description of the genome. The genome signifies the initial high-coverage, and entire genome sequence of extinct human groups. It is the expectation of Dr. Paabo and his team that biologists will find the genome instrumental in discovering genetic alterations that were significant for the progress of the present culture and technology of humans, in addition to revealing new historical aspects of the Denisovans and the Neandertals. I commend Dr. Svante Paabo and his research team for the exemplary work they have been doing in the study of ancient DNA, and more so, their latest breakthrough in the discovery of a high quality genome sequence that allows gene copies with miniature differences to be differentiated. This article is very relevant to every human life since it talks about the discovery of genes, which are vital to all human beings. Every person has genes carrying various traits that they inherited from their father and mother. The fact that we look similar to one or both our parents, show that we inherited our characteristics from them. However, it is not enough just to know that; I would love to know exactly which features I inherited from my mother, and wich ones from my father? This new technology will help childless couples to trace the roots of their infertility problem. Often men blame their wives for their inability not knowing that the problem may not be directly linked to them. Lastly, this article have reported that Denisovans are the closest extinct relations to modern human beings, what features do humans share in common with them, and what led to their extinction? I challenge scientists to make use of the new genome to ease their research.
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