Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Genome of 700,000-Year-Old Horse Sequenced

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The oldest genome so far from a prehistoric creature has been sequenced by an international team.

The team, which included Dr Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol, sequenced and analysed short pieces of DNA molecules preserved in bone-remnants from a horse frozen for the last 700,000 years in the permafrost of Yukon, Canada.

By tracking the genomic changes that transformed prehistoric wild horses into domestic breeds, the researchers have revealed the genetic make-up of modern horses with unprecedented detail.  Their findings are published today in Nature.

DNA molecules can survive in fossils well after an organism dies, not as whole chromosomes but as short pieces that could be assembled back together, like a puzzle.  Sometimes enough molecules survive so that the full genome sequence of an extinct species could be resurrected and over the past few years, the full genome sequence of a few ancient humans and archaic hominins has been characterized – but so far, none dated back more than 70,000 years.  Now Dr Ludovic Orlando and Professor Eske Willerslev from Copenhagen's Centre for GeoGenetics and colleagues have beaten this DNA-record by about 10 times.

Sequencing the first genome from the Middle Pleistocene was by no means straightforward and involved collaboration between researchers from Denmark, China, Canada, the USA, Switzerland, the UK, Norway, France, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

Dr Vinther's contribution to the study involved looking at the amino acid composition of the bone with a Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscope (TOF-SIMS).  This analysis revealed the presence of abundant secondary ions characteristic of amino-acid peptides, particularly glycine, proline and alanine.  These amino acids are characteristic of collagen which suggested that proteins had survived in situ.

Dr Orlando said: "We first got excited when we detected the signature of amino-acids that suggested proteins had survived.  We got more excited when we proved able to directly sequence collagen peptides.  When we detected blood proteins, it really started looking promising because those are barely preserved.  At that stage, it could well be that ancient DNA could also be preserved."

And indeed DNA was present – in a tiny amount.  Using Helicos true Single DNA Molecule Sequencing, the researchers managed to identify molecular preservation niches in the bone and experimental conditions that enabled finishing the full genome sequence.

Sequencing the genome allowed the scientists to track major genomic changes over the last 700,000 years of evolution of the horse lineage.  By comparing the genome in the 700,000-year-old horse with the genome of a 43,000-year-old horse, six present day horses and the donkey, they found that  the last common ancestor of all modern equids was living about 4.0-4.5 million years ago.  Therefore, the evolutionary radiation underlying the origin of horses, donkeys and zebras reaches back in time twice as long as previously thought.

Professor Willerslev said: "The results of the studies and the applied techniques open up new doors for the exploration of prehistoric living creatures.  Now with genomics and proteomics, we can reach ten times further back in time compared to before.  And new knowledge about the horse’s evolutionary history has been added – a history which is considered as a classical example in evolutionary biology and a topic which is taught in high schools and universities."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Immune Cells Remember Their First Meal
Scientists at the University of Bristol have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response – a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Faster, Cheaper Way to Produce New Antibiotics
A novel way of synthesising a promising new antibiotic has been identified by scientists at the University of Bristol.
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Autism Genes Are In All Of Us
Study suggests that genetic risk contributing to autism exists in all of us.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Genome Studies Identify Lifestyle Risks for Diseases
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) scan the entire genome in order to pinpoint genetic variants associated with a particular disease.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Ocean Acidification Makes Coralline Algae Less Robust
Ocean acidification (the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere), is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity, new research from the University of Bristol has found.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Gene Variation Identified for Teen Binge-Eating
Researchers have identified a gene variant which can lead to teenage binge eating, they hope that their work will inform the development of future preventative measures.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
What Causes Immune Cell Migration To Wounds
Study shows triggers which lead immune cells to react and respond to wounded sites.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Fighting Prostate Cancer with a Tomato-Rich Diet
New research suggests that men who eat over 10 portions of tomatoes a week have an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Breakthrough Shows How DNA is ‘Edited’ to Correct Genetic Diseases
An international team of scientists has made a major step forward in our understanding of how enzymes 'edit' genes, paving the way for correcting genetic diseases in patients.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Deciphering the Role of Fat Stem Cells in Obesity and Diabetes
New study will examine stem cells to pinpoint how excess fat is stored, potentially paving the way for new treatments to combat obesity-linked diseases.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Molecular Biology Mystery Unravelled
Machinery responsible for the entry of proteins into cell membranes.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Beauty and the Lab: Scientists Reveal the Art of Science
From a heart-shaped cell nucleus to a 3D molecular syringe, creative scientists have revealed the beauty found in complex and technical research.
Monday, December 16, 2013
New Swine Influenza Project to Better Understand Virus Transmission
The Pirbright Institute in Surrey has been awarded £4.4 million to work with researchers from universities on a long-term study on the transmission of swine influenza.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions to Reach 36 Billion Tonnes in 2013
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels will reach 36 billion tonnes for the year 2013 – a level unprecedented in human history.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Human Neural Stem Cells Could Meet the Clinical Problem of Critical Limb Ischemia
New research has shown human neural stem cells could improve blood flow in critical limb ischemia through the growth of new vessels.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Scientific News
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Atmosphere Acidity Minimised to Preindustrial Levels
Sheet ice study shows acidic pollution of the atmosphere has now almost returned to preindustrial levels.
New Therapeutic Target for Crohn’s Disease
A promising new target for drugs that treat IBD has been identified along with a possible biomarker for IBD severity.
Culex Mosquitoes Do Not Transmit Zika
A study of the Culex species mosquito appears to show that the species does not transmit Zika virus.
Uncovering Water Bear Resilience
A protein identified in water bears can protect DNA of human cells from lethal doses of radiation damage.
“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
Researchers Find Fungus-Fighting Compound
A compound has been identifed that blocks growth of a fungus responsible for lung infections and allergic reactions.
Analysing 10,000 Cells Simultaneously
New techniquethat traps 10,000 cells on a single chip has potential for cancer screening for individuals.
Potential of New Insect Control Traits in Agriculture
Researchers have discovered a protein that shows promise as an alternate corn rootworm control mechanism.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!