Error in Nature article re African DNA

The first African genome came from a skeleton found in Ethiopia

The first African genome came from a skeleton found in Ethiopia

A retraction has been placed in Nature online regarding research previously published in Oct 2015. An error has forced researchers to go back on their claim that humans across the whole of Africa carry DNA inherited from Eurasian immigrants. This was based on research which sequenced the genome of a skeleton of a 4,500 man in Ethiopia – the first complete ancient genome from Africa.

Oldest known pathogen sequenced

5,000 year-old "Iceman" Oetzi, found in the Tyrol mountains of Austria

5,000 year-old “Iceman” Oetzi, found in the Tyrol mountains of Austria

Genetic scientists, working on the 5,000-year-old remains of the “iceman” Oetzi in Austria, whose genome was sequenced in February 2015, have now sequenced the bacteria that was found in his body, which provides new evidence for our deep ancestry and human migration in Europe.

Read more at PBS Nova Next and also at BBC Science News

Genome of mummified Inca child sequenced

Aconcagua mummy (Source: IFLS)

Aconcagua mummy (Source: IFLS)

Here is another great success story about the use of mitochondrial DNA for learning about our ancestors.

A partially frozen 500-year-old mummy of an Incan child was found by mountaineers in 1985 in the mountains of Argentina. Part of the mummified lungs was removed and used for analysis of the mitochondrial DNA, which has allowed genetic scientists to map the entire genome of this child. This mapping has led to the discovery of an entirely new genetic lineage that has not been found in contemporary Native Americans.

You can read about this fascinating story at IFLS and for a more in-depth read of the science involved in the Nature Science Report.

What is a genome?

15.11.05_genomeA GENOME is the sum total of all the genetic material inside each cell of an organism and contains all the genetic information needed to maintain the functioning and growth of the organism. All living things have their own unique genome.

In humans, every single one of our millions of cells contains over 3 billion bits of DNA coding, which make up the human genome. It is a blueprint for building a human. This DNA code is made up of four chemicals that are known as base pairs and are given a letter for identification: A (adenine) + T (thymine), G (guanine) + C (cytosine). If you read out aloud these 3.2 billion base pair letters on a printout of the human genome, it would take you about a hundred years to get to the end of the list!

In 1990, in the world’s largest biological project, a number of research institutions and universities around the world collaborated to map out and identify all the genetic material in the human genome – all 3.2 billion bits of coding. The project was completed in 2002 and is certainly one of mankind’sĀ greatest scientific achievements. It has opened up many new avenues of research in medicine and biotechnology engaged in using this genetic data, and for those of us involved in genealogy, it has provided a wonderful new tool for helping to make connections in genealogical research.

You can read more about the human genome and the human genome project here:
Human Genome Project Information Archive
National Human Genome Research Institute
Your Genome

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