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article imageOldest ever genome sequenced: a Canadian horse

By Tim Sandle     Jun 29, 2013 in Science
Yukon - Scientists have sequenced the so far oldest genome from a prehistoric creature: a prehistoric horse found in Canada. The research shows that the horse was a common ancestor to the horses of today.
The sequencing was carried out on preserved bone-remnants from a horse that had been kept frozen for the last 700,000 years in the permafrost of Yukon, Canada. This was a relatively lucky find because no DNA had been discovered previously of this age.
The activity has allowed researchers to track the genetic changes that transformed prehistoric wild horses into domestic breeds. This was carried out by comparing the genome in the newly discovered 700,000 year old horse bone with the genome of a previously discovered 43,000 year old horse, together with six present day horses and a donkey. This analysis has shown that horses, donkeys and zebras all have a common ancestor and that all modern 'horses' can trace their lineage back to the Canadian horse.
The 700,000 old horse is not the oldest or first horse, the origin of the horse is likely to date back to even earlier times. It is, nonetheless, the oldest creature to be genetically examined.
The analysis was based on DNA sequencing. DNA sequencing is the process of determining the precise order of nucleotides within a DNA molecule. Today knowledge of DNA sequences is indispensable for basic biological research.
The sequencing was carried out at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen). The findings have been reported in the journal Nature. The paper, published in the journal Nature, is titled “Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse.”
More about Horse, Canada, Genome, Genetic, Dna
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