Interesting discussion on regenerating ancient DNA samples

12/03/2013 - 00:00

Where is the science of ancient DNA taking us?  Michael Hofreiter, of the University of York, best known for his work on ancient horses, cattle, and cave bears, says he’s not comfortable with predicting the future of ancient DNA. And no wonder. 

Pressed into service as a forecaster at a recent Royal Society meeting on ancient DNA, Hofreiter pointed out that nobody would have predicted as recently as 5 years ago that by the end of 2013, we would possess complete genomes not only from today’s version of Homo sap, but also the modern human genome from 24,000 years ago that I wrote about here last week–plus complete genomes of two of our recent forebears. (That’s the Neandertals and those mystery Siberians called Denisovans, known only from a teen girl’s finger bone and a couple of teeth from other individuals.)