The oldest genome ever sequenced is million-year-old DNA from mammoth teeth discovered in Siberia
The ancient DNA that came from the teeth of the mammoths that once marched across Siberia is the oldest reconstruction ever made.
A tooth from a mammoth that roamed the Siberian steppe more than a million years ago has yielded the world’s oldest DNA sequence.
The research, led by a Swedish team, shattered the record so far sequenced for the oldest DNA. DNA from a horse that trotted across Canada around 700,000 years ago was the former record-holder.
“This DNA is incredibly old. The samples are a thousand times older than Viking remains and even pre-date the existence of humans and Neanderthals,” Love Dalen, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, said.
Of the DNA the researchers reconstructed, there were two kinds. There was DNA found in the nucleus, which holds the genetic blueprint of the animal, and DNA from mitochondria, which are minute structures that generate energy.
Once they had the genetic data, the researchers looked at where it fit in the mammoth family tree.
They discovered that the oldest specimen was markedly genetically different from the two younger specimens, named ‘Krestova’ after where it was found.
The researchers have solved the mystery of how the Colombian mammoth that lived from around half a million to 11,000 years ago in North America came to life.