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Biotech Science

Greenlander's DNA Sequenced, After 5,000 Years 80

Posted by timothy
from the finally-died-of-birthday-cake-poisoning dept.
TinFinger writes "The genome of a 5,000-year-old man from Greenland has been sequenced from scalp hair remains. He belonged to the now-extinct Saqqaq, who are genetically more closely related to east Asians than to contemporary Native North Americans. Although both contemporary Inuit and the extinct Saqqaq migrated from Siberia across the Bering Straits, the Saqqaq migration was a much later one (5,000-10,000 years ago, compared with 20,000 for the Inuit). All that is left of the Saqqaq today are a few archaeological sites in Greenland. Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut. The hair sample from which the DNA was sequenced was excavated in 1986 and was archived at the National Museum of Denmark. It was only recently rediscovered by a research team who spent a fruitless three months at Saqqaq sites looking for hair samples for genome analysis."
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Greenlander's DNA Sequenced, After 5,000 Years

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  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @05:10PM (#31137042) Homepage

    The genome of a 5,000-year-old man from Greenland has been sequenced from scalp hair remains.

    Next they'll be inserting DNA copies into fertilized eggs and spawning a new race of extinct human beings. Welcome to Saqqaq Park.

  • 5000 Years? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @05:28PM (#31137236)

    ... pffft; CSI could have done it in 20 MINUTES!

    • But would they have used a Visual Basic GUI to do it?

  • Impressive... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by binaryseraph (955557) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @05:47PM (#31137416)
    Really quite impressive how far reading the the mutations have come along in the DNA world. National Geographic has a really awesome ancestor research project that will trace your own gene mutations back- in some cases to when we all came out of Africa. While it's not much good for the more recent history (last 1000 years) it's fascinating to think back to 5 or 10k. I hear they are going to work on samples from some mummies they found in South America and hopefully shed light on the puzzle of where they originated.
  • Wikipedia says mammoths died about 4,500 yrs ago so this should be do-able. Then I want it miniaturized like those chihuahua sized doberman pincher dogs so I can walk it around the block during winter.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Then I want it miniaturized like those chihuahua sized doberman pincher dogs so I can walk it around the block during winter.

      What happens if your mammoth doberhuahua decides that a bus is its mother?

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        for extra freak the neighbor factor, have them splice in some of that glowing jellyfish gene, and walk in the winter at night. miniature ghost mammoths walking in the winter night!

  • Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

    I love how detailed genetic analyses are getting! :)

  • 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

    So the modern-day equivalent of Inuk is an aging Canadian rock band star from Bachman Turner Overdrive?

  • by dsanfte (443781) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @07:03PM (#31138052) Journal

    Not to nitpick, but come on. It's the first line of the article, guys.

  • Wow, wonder if the guy ever met Larry King. (Yes, I'm a Conan fan.)
  • Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

    So... comic book guy? [thestranger.com]

    The cold blood must be a genetic adaptation from years of basement dwelling.

  • They have just found the missing link between asians and red indians. I wish they could clone him, to see how much mankind has changed since his time. ---

    --- Human Evolution [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • hold it there. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elnyka (803306) on Monday February 15, 2010 @08:23AM (#31142922) Homepage

    Although both contemporary Inuit and the extinct Saqqaq migrated from Siberia across the Bering Straits, the Saqqaq migration was a much later one (5,000-10,000 years ago, compared with 20,000 for the Inuit).

    Where did you get these age ranges? 20,000 years for the Inuit? Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK, and except for tentative sites in Alaska, existing migratory evidence that we have today for the peopling of the Americas does not go back that far back in time. We believe that the people in Beringia were isolated between 10K and 20K, but we do not know precisely when they made the trek to the Americas.

    Now, the linguistic and genetic evidence DO suggest that the peopling of the Americas started that far back in time as a whole. There are findings in Alaska, the establishment of the linguistic connection between the Na-Dene languages (.ie. Apache, Navajo) and the Yenisean languages, or sites like Monte Verde in Chile (which challenges the "Clovis First" theory).

    But where is the combined evidence (archeological and genetic) that says the Inuit (or any extant New World group for that matter) came into the Americas as far back as 20,000?

    Now, let's consider what the article says:

    His ancestors split apart from Chukchis some 5,500 years ago, according to genetic calculations,

    The Saqqaq split from the Chukchis about 5,500 years ago. That date alone does not provide any window by which to speculate when the Saqqaq entered into the Americas. They could have split off when they entered, say, a thousand years before. Or they could have split off after their common ancestor entered the Americas with the ancestors of the Chukchis moving back into Siberia. Purely speculative I know, but the models of migration does not preclude back-and-forth migration over the ice sheets/along the Beringian corridor (which if you think about it, it's very sensible and pausible.) Moreover, the ancestors of the Inuit and Saqqaq could have split off back in Siberia and way before their independent entrances into the Americas. I just don't see how TimFinger came up with this 10K-20K year range.

    • by elnyka (803306)

      But where is the combined evidence (archeological and genetic) that says the Inuit (or any extant New World group for that matter) came into the Americas as far back as 20,000?

      Let me re-phrase the question, just so that there are no misunderstandings: is there any particular native group X in the Americas for which there is enough combined evidence (BOTH archeological and genetic) that can firmly clock their (either unique or last) trek and permanent move into the Americas to a date as far back as 20,000?

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