News & AnalysisANCIENT DNA

A Crystal-Clear View of an Extinct Girl's Genome

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Science  31 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6098, pp. 1028-1029
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6098.1028

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Researchers have sequenced the genome of an archaic Siberian girl 31 times over, using a new method that amplifies single strands of DNA. As the team reports online in Science this week, more than 99% of the nucleotides are sequenced at least 10 times, so researchers have as sharp a picture of this ancient genome as of a living person's. That precision allows the team to compare the nuclear genome of this girl, who lived in Siberia's Denisova Cave more than 50,000 years ago, directly to the genomes of living people, producing a "near-complete" catalog of the small number of genetic changes that make us different from the Denisovans, who were close relatives of Neandertals.