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Mar 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 5)

Researchers Map Neanderthal Genome

Scientists Also Complete the Draft Sequence of the Endangered Bonobo

  • Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and 454 Life Sciences reported  completion of the 1X draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome. The team, which began the project in July 2006, also announced the completion of the 18-fold draft sequence of the Bonobo genome, an endangered ape closely related to the common chimpanzee and distantly to humans.

    Detailed analysis of both the Neanderthal and Bonobo genomes will significantly advance our understanding of the human evolutionary history, said the researchers.

    The Neanderthal project, led by Svante Pääbo, Ph.D., director of the institute’s department of evolutionary anthropology, and Michael Egholm, chief technology officer at 454 Life Sciences, developed from the results of a study published in Nature in 2006, detailing the ability of 454 Sequencing to determine large amounts of nuclear DNA sequences from late Pleistocene animals such as cave bears, mammoths, as well as the Neanderthal.

Readers' Comments

Posted 06/21/2009 by Professor

Excellent. Most enlihting.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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