December 18, 2005

Key sequence in mammoth genome reconstructed

Nature is reporting that researchers have devised a new technique that has helped to rebuild part of woolly mammoth's genome. The process, called multiplex polymerase chain reaction, required DNA to be teased out from just 200 milligrams (0.007 of an ounce) of bone found at a mammoths' graveyard in the Siberian permafrost. Their technique copied 46 chunks of sequence which were rearranged to give a picture of the creature's mitochondrial DNA.

The closest relative today to the wooly mammoth is the Asian elephant rather than the African elephant, the researchers say. The difference, however, is not great. African elephants branched away from the mammoth's evolutionary tree around six million years ago, with Asian elephants following suit only 440,000 years later.

Tags: , , .

No comments: