World: Researchers Uncover Ancient DNA

Researchers recently extracted and sequenced DNA from a 4,500 year-old skull found in highlands in Ethiopia. The findings have suggested that, contrary to previously-held beliefs, 3000 years ago there was a massive migration from Eurasia into Africa. Scientists have also determined that up to 25% of DNA in modern Africans can be traced back to this migration. Dr. Andrea Manica from the University of Cambridge, who helped to complete the research, said, “Every single population for which we have data in Africa has a sizeable component of Eurasian ancestry.”

It has been difficult to locate ancient DNA to sequence in Africa due to the hot and humid conditions destroying DNA strands. However, this skull was found in a cave and was well preserved. Dr. Manica stated, “What we were able to get is some very high quality undamaged DNA from which we could reconstruct the whole genome of the individual. We have the complete blueprint, every single gene, every single bit of information that made this individual that lived 4,500 years ago in Ethiopia.”

Contributor: Katie Campbell


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