NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology have used 454 Life Sciences’ technology to sequence and analyzed around 1 million base pairs of the Neandertal genome.
Sequencing Neanderthal DNA is particularly difficult, 454 said, because of sample contamination caused by microbial DNA.
The company said the 454 Sequencer 20 System was used in the studies because it enabled researchers to sequence around a quarter of a million single DNA strands in about five hours.
The sequences determined by the system are between 100 and 200 base pairs long, which 454 said fits with the length of these DNA fragments.
454 CEO Christopher McLeod said the information generated in the studies validates 454’s instrument because it allows for sequencing even of genomes “from highly degraded samples.”
Articles covering the project appear in this week’s Nature and Science.
454 and Max Planck announced their collaboration in July.
Last year, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology led an international team to extract and sequence protein from a Neanderthal found in a cave in Iraq.
The tem used an Applied Biosystems 4700 Proteomics Analyzer to sequence bone protein from the Neanderthal. They found that the sequence is the same as homologous sequence in humans except for amino acid position nine, where a hydoxyproline is replaced by a proline in the Neanderthal.