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An historic first: decoding the genome of an ancient man

DNA of 4,000-year-old Paleo-Eskimo is sequenced


 

For the first time in history, the genome of an ancient human has been decoded. The DNA profile of a man who lived in Greenland about 4,000 years ago was drawn from a sample of his hair that was dug out from the permafrost in Qeqertasussuk, Greenland in 1986. So what can the university of Copenhagen researchers who ran the project tell us about our Paleolithic John Doe? A lot, apparently. The Greenlander was a Paleo-Eskimo whose ancestors likely split off from the Chukchis tribe of Siberia about 5,500 years ago. More to the point: the man had brown eyes, thick hair (thicker than most Europeans and Africans), dry earwax, and—ironically, given how much his hair has accomplished as of late—a high likelihood of baldness. In addition to the ancient man, eight living people have had their entire genomes analyzed.

New York Times


 
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