Feb 10, 2010 Views: 2434
4,000 year old genome sequenced
An article in the February 11, 2010, issue of Nature describes the sequencing of the complete genome of a 4,000-year old Eskimo (Saqqaq). This is by far the oldest complete genome ever published (only 8 human genomes have been reported so far). The article can be accessed here.
What's interesting is the kind of information we can derive about this individual from such data:
1. He was of blood type A+
2. Had a high likelihood of going bald
3. He had dark hair
4. Had dry earwax (an indication of a propensity to get infections)
5. He had dark skin
6. He had brown eyes
7. He had shovel-shaped front teeth
8. He was adapted to cold climates
Last but not least, this individual is more closely related to people from Siberia than modern Native Americans, implying that there was a wave of migration to the New World some 5,500 years ago, independent of the migration that led to the rise of modern Native Americans.
As our ability to sequence DNA continues to expand, a more clear image of the past continues to unfold.