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Greenlander's DNA Sequenced, After 5,000 Years

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the finally-died-of-birthday-cake-poisoning dept.

Biotech 80

TinFinger writes "The genome of a 5,000-year-old man from Greenland has been sequenced from scalp hair remains. He belonged to the now-extinct Saqqaq, who are genetically more closely related to east Asians than to contemporary Native North Americans. Although both contemporary Inuit and the extinct Saqqaq migrated from Siberia across the Bering Straits, the Saqqaq migration was a much later one (5,000-10,000 years ago, compared with 20,000 for the Inuit). All that is left of the Saqqaq today are a few archaeological sites in Greenland. Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut. The hair sample from which the DNA was sequenced was excavated in 1986 and was archived at the National Museum of Denmark. It was only recently rediscovered by a research team who spent a fruitless three months at Saqqaq sites looking for hair samples for genome analysis."

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and now for a god test (-1, Offtopic)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31136930)

Clone the guy and see if he is capable of learning and living in this more advanced human environment.

if he can then there will be a lot to say about god and darwin.

Re:and now for a god test (5, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137060)

Clone the guy and see if he is capable of learning and living in this more advanced human environment.

if he can then there will be a lot to say about god and darwin.

And what, exactly would that be? That modern-humans can learn and adapt behavior patterns from those around them? A human born within the last 5,000 years or so is not all that different, especially in terms of cranial capacity. So I would suspect that the individual would be able to learn at a reasonable rate compared to the rest of us and display the ability to follow social norms just as any other person.

Now, seeing whether or not this person's immune system could stand up to today's stronger viruses and engineered pharmaceuticals would be interesting. However, it might prove to be a very good case NOT to bring back archaic forms of life.

Re:immunity (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137584)

Immunity is less inherited and more acquired. As long as the clone isn't raised as a bubble boy, (s)he will likely wind up with the same immunities as other contemporary humans in the same local environment.

Re:immunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143244)

Immunity through antibodies is acquired sure, but immunity through not being affected is inherited. Lots of diseases killed off everyone except those who were genetically immune, to leave us with the populations we have today.

Re:immunity (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143596)

"Lots" might be a big exaggeration. I can think of one instance, and could anticipate others, but "lots"?

Re:and now for a god test (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137602)

Now, seeing whether or not this person's immune system could stand up to today's stronger viruses [..]

That experiment was run (unintentionally, the "infected blankets" story nonwithstanding) already, and wiped out most Native Americans, so no need to repeat that.

We pretty much know why, as well: The genetic bottleneck while crossing the Bering strait reduced their immune system complexity to a fraction of the happily mingling Eurasian/African population.

Re:and now for a god test (3, Informative)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137760)

A genetic bottleneck is one way to look at it, but diseases that developed in one isolated population can wreak havoc in a different isolated population regardless of the 2nd groups genetic diversity. Look at what happened when Central Asian plague reached Europe in the middle ages... a huge portion of the European population had no resistance and got wiped out. So: bottlenecked low-diversity population, or isolated population with no exposure to the pathogen?

Re:and now for a god test (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142748)

So it seems that maybe we might still get something out of raising a genetically cloned baby and infecting it with H5N1 and SARS.

Add some lipstick and eyeliner and maybe PETA would finally be happy.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139950)

considering some posters think humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time... its not a very bright crowd here.

The works of Julian Jaynes would find an interesting test with such a subject (clone of a 5000 year old person.)

While atheist in general seem to just out right deny anything godish in mans evolution a clone of 5000 years ago could most probably give additional proof of Julian work.
The Darwin evolution theory and the creationist theory are probably both wrong and the truth is some mix of the two.

Imagine a lab where we create life and its environment and where we of course influence the growth and evolution direction of this lab controlled life.

Now imagine it on a scale of a universe.

I believe It was within the last five thousand years where Julian Jaynes work suggest the transition from bicameral mind to what we have today, happened.

Would such a 5000 year old clone be capable of introspection?

so yeah, my first post was not off topic.... but a natural projection of what we might be able to find out with such new information.

Re:and now for a god test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31140342)

The Darwin evolution theory and the creationist theory are probably both wrong and the truth is some mix of the two.

A mix of science and pure largely politically minded idiocy?

I'm 100% sure there's NO creationism involved in the correct theory.

Re:and now for a god test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141838)

Sure? How?

Re:and now for a god test (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31145472)

Because it's fabricated based on absolutely nothing unless you count misunderstandings of things we now understand better, if not almost completely.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140522)

From the Wikipedia entry on Julian Jaynes:

"Julian Jaynes (February 27, 1920 – November 21, 1997) was an American psychologist, best known for his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), in which he argued that ancient peoples did not access consciousness (did not possess an introspective mind-space), but instead had their behavior directed by auditory hallucinations, which they interpreted as the voice of their chief, king, or the gods. Jaynes argued that the change from this mode of thinking (which he called the bicameral mind) to consciousness (construed as self-identification of interior mental states) occurred over a period of centuries about three thousand years ago and was based on the development of metaphorical language and the emergence of writing."

Put down the SnowCrash and get back to reality and empirical evidence with the rest of us please. Just because an author of popular fiction incorporates an idea into their book does not make it real or factual.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140680)

you're really not very bright to rely on wikipedia. Especially when you compare Julian credits against yours.
Try google findings and realize that as we find out more, Julian continues to get more and more verified.

Perhaps you might even try reading the book rather than showing your ignorance in claiming fiction.
There is a lot of research backing Julians work.

Re:and now for a god test (2, Insightful)

greentshirt (1308037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142528)

So you're going to tell him not to rely on a (sourced) wikipedia article, but to rely on an (unsourced) google search? Logical consistency fail in aisle 3.

Re:and now for a god test (2)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140060)

A human born within the last 5,000 years or so is not all that different, especially in terms of cranial capacity

What is this, some kind of joke? The world is only 4000 years old.

Re:and now for a god test (5, Interesting)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137160)

Clone the guy and see if he is capable of learning and living in this more advanced human environment.

5,000 years are not much of a difference. As it says in the article, the Innuit diverge from the "Eurasia" Genepool by more than 10,000 years, and the entire population of the Americas does as well. Though it would still be interesting if both populations had homologous adaptations to cold weather or already had them in Siberia.

if he can then there will be a lot to say about god and darwin.

No. Again, it is survival of the fittest, for whatever fitness function the environment, inter and intraspecies competition sets up for you.

What is being worked on is cloning a Neanderthal human, which went extinct about 50,000 years ago - some think we were the cause (well, "we" being what later became part of the European population). And some think homo neanderthalensis might have been smarter than homo sapiens, but again, fitness doesn't necessarily take that into account.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137264)

What is being worked on is cloning a Neanderthal human

Really? I would love to see the ethical justification for that. Imagine setting out to create a disabled human being, just to see what they look like...

Re:and now for a god test (0, Troll)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137296)

Christopher Reeve. Next question?

Re:and now for a god test (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137544)

Do you mean "disabled" because the cloning process of ancient DNA is flakey? I'll give you that, but so far nothing but human arrogance indicates that Neanderthals were dumber than us (It was even on Slashdot: New Evidence Debunks "Stupid" Neanderthal [slashdot.org] ).
And even if it results in a mentally challenged individual, that doesn't mean his life will be terrible. You know, disabled human beings exist here and now...

And for further ethical discussion, read all 990 comments from these experts here: Should We Clone a Neanderthal? [slashdot.org]

Re:and now for a god test (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137588)

No I mean that disabled humans have an unhappy life because they don't fit into our society as it stands. Many of them can't breed or drive a car for example. I am not claiming that a recreated Neanderthal would be disabled in any way but I do doubt that they would live their life in a way that suited them. I think it is more likely they would live in a zoo, and I wouldn't want to see that happen.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137662)

I agree it would be a rather unusual upbringing, but I don't think it would be worse than being a child of a celebrity. And the general public would most certainly not be allowed to point fingers at them, as in "Zoo". The scientist would treat them as equals I would hope. But yes, this scenario is enough for a hundred ethics commissions.

Re:and now for a god test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138132)

The disabled people I know (including my girlfriend's brother who is clinically retarded) are generally happier than I am. Maybe we need to breed less intelligent people.

Re:and now for a god test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138410)

I told you to forget about Mary, but you had to go after her and now the whole male population in North America wants to kill you. You deserve being unhappy.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31145556)

unhappy life because they don't fit into our society as it stands. Many of them can't breed or drive a car for example.

So then all of /. is disabled??? I wonder if we file for disability or start a non-profit?

Re:and now for a god test (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139842)

And even if it results in a mentally challenged individual, that doesn't mean his life will be terrible. You know, disabled human beings exist here and now...

But Geico already has these guys [youtube.com] .

Re:and now for a god test (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137796)

Neanderthals aren't disabled human beings, they're a completely different type of hominid. Now there's some debate about speciation (whether they're truly a different species than h. sapiens), but calling a neanderthal disabled *human* doesn't make sense. It would be like saying coyotes are disabled wolves. But yeah, there are certainly ethical concerns about cloning a hominid.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137858)

calling a neanderthal disabled *human* doesn't make sense

I'm not. I was making an analogy. How would it feel to be the only Neanderthal on earth, unable to reproduce. If a community of Neanderthals was created, what would we humans do to them if they started breeding?

Re:and now for a god test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138054)

Well he could always do commercials for GEICO.

Re:and now for a god test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138182)

> How would it feel to be the only Neanderthal on earth, unable to reproduce.

Much like being on slashdot, I imagine.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138864)

Enslave them, duh! * Various religions will declare they don't have souls, thus making it acceptable, then we'll have a war of some sort, and that's where the various books tend to diverge, so prediction beyond that is murky at best.

*I'm not condoning it, it's just what I'd expect

Re:and now for a god test (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31146974)

This finally explains the planet of the apes movie in a way that doesn't involve multiple universes! hurrah, pure time travel without the quantum physics

Re:and now for a god test (1)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140262)

Since it's a man, you could do a xy neanderthal and then a xx neanderthal...

Then put them in a garden with some snakes and some fruit trees, and hidden loudspeakers...

Hmmmmm.... maybe clean up their regressive disease genes too...

Re:and now for a god test (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140446)

Reboot! Then we move to Mars and watch the action!

Re:and now for a god test (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140618)

Sounds like a Dan Simmons novel

Re:and now for an evolution test (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140724)

Well yes. Fitness is what works ... and what works is fitness. Bright ... really really bright.

Re:and now for a god test (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141362)

What is being worked on is cloning a Neanderthal human

Thats already been done - its Pat Robertson

They'll be waking him up (4, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137042)

The genome of a 5,000-year-old man from Greenland has been sequenced from scalp hair remains.

Next they'll be inserting DNA copies into fertilized eggs and spawning a new race of extinct human beings. Welcome to Saqqaq Park.

Re:They'll be waking him up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137272)

We need someone to herd the cyborg dinosaurs of the future!

Re:They'll be waking him up (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137788)

What, we'll be overrun by Velocieskimos?

Tara Ann Tournahu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31142060)

Who is "Tara Ann Tournahu" ?

5000 Years? (4, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137236)

... pffft; CSI could have done it in 20 MINUTES!

Re:5000 Years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137364)

And it would've had a flashy UI displayed on trasparent screens, too!

Re:5000 Years? (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137826)

Bah. NCIS would have already done it before Gibbs walked in to ask about it. Great, now I'm imagining Abby raising a gothic neanderthal kid with tats and piercings.

Re:5000 Years? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31145396)

Great, now I'm imagining Abby raising a gothic neanderthal kid with tats and piercings.

That's the plot line for our new spin off show? Who the hell told you about this?

Re:5000 Years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137462)

Including commercials.

Re:5000 Years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137690)

>>... pffft; CSI could have done it in 20 MINUTES!

XKCD sez....

http://xkcd.com/683/

Re:5000 Years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137842)

25 if done in Miami or NYC.

Re:5000 Years? (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141386)

followed by "maybe this will lead us the the killer" about 10 times in 50 minutes

Re:5000 Years? (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31149026)

25 if done in Miami or NYC.

25 minutes... A timeline - <puts on Sunglasses of Justice(TM) > - For murder!


YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!

Re:5000 Years? (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138878)

But would they have used a Visual Basic GUI to do it?

Impressive... (3, Interesting)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137416)

Really quite impressive how far reading the the mutations have come along in the DNA world. National Geographic has a really awesome ancestor research project that will trace your own gene mutations back- in some cases to when we all came out of Africa. While it's not much good for the more recent history (last 1000 years) it's fascinating to think back to 5 or 10k. I hear they are going to work on samples from some mummies they found in South America and hopefully shed light on the puzzle of where they originated.

Still waiting for my mammoth (2, Funny)

aphid (98115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137480)

Wikipedia says mammoths died about 4,500 yrs ago so this should be do-able. Then I want it miniaturized like those chihuahua sized doberman pincher dogs so I can walk it around the block during winter.

Re:Still waiting for my mammoth (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138088)

Then I want it miniaturized like those chihuahua sized doberman pincher dogs so I can walk it around the block during winter.

What happens if your mammoth doberhuahua decides that a bus is its mother?

Re:Still waiting for my mammoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139120)

You then walk to down the street.

If you get the right kind, the mother would still be around person height:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_Mammoth [wikipedia.org]

Re:Still waiting for my mammoth (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139968)

for extra freak the neighbor factor, have them splice in some of that glowing jellyfish gene, and walk in the winter at night. miniature ghost mammoths walking in the winter night!

Re:Still waiting for my mammoth (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140586)

I forgot what color was the glow? Pink? Tim S.

Genetic analysis reveals mullet?! (2, Interesting)

notjustchalk (1743368) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137482)

Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

I love how detailed genetic analyses are getting! :)

5,000 year old man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137526)

My fundamentalist friend was right! People did live longer back then!

Re:5,000 year old man? (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137866)

Tell him it's a good thing his remains were frozen in ice during the Flood! It's much harder to find preserved antediluvian remains from warm climates. :p

bad haircut? ugly? do not diss the mullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137552)

its the ultimate hunter/warrior haircut (neck is covered/warm, vision unobstructed)

Re:bad haircut? ugly? do not diss the mullet (5, Funny)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137708)

Grow a mullet and see how it affects your chances of reproducing.

Re:bad haircut? ugly? do not diss the mullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139020)

it doesn't affect it one little bit

Re:bad haircut? ugly? do not diss the mullet (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141414)

Unfortunately.....

Re:bad haircut? ugly? do not diss the mullet (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141504)

The trailer park breeding grounds around here indicate that the Mullet might be a slashdotters best chance. Have a car? Have money for pizza and beer? You're set!

WWE? (1)

Ardx (954221) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137746)

Isn't he from WWE wrestling?

Modern-day equivalent (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137812)

'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

So the modern-day equivalent of Inuk is an aging Canadian rock band star from Bachman Turner Overdrive?

He was 4,000 years old. (3, Informative)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138052)

Not to nitpick, but come on. It's the first line of the article, guys.

Re:He was 4,000 years old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139186)

Well, to nitpick a bit... He wasn't 4000 years old either -- he lived 4000 years ago.

Re:He was 4,000 years old. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139994)

to nitpick even more, he *died* 4,000 years ago

Re:He was 4,000 years old. (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31146576)

That's an additional factoid, though, and doesn't conflict. Thus, is superfluous.

5000 years old? (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138522)

Wow, wonder if the guy ever met Larry King. (Yes, I'm a Conan fan.)

Worst comment ever. (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138702)

Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

So... comic book guy? [thestranger.com]

The cold blood must be a genetic adaptation from years of basement dwelling.

Your honor, I would like to point out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138870)

that the statute of limitations on the allegations of my client forcibly stealing his neighbor's wife and sabre-toothed tiger pelts has expired.

And even if it hasn't, it's exceedingly likely that the prosecution failed to properly seal off the crime scene at least once or twice during the intervening 5000 years.

Prove of the closeness of races (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139428)

They have just found the missing link between asians and red indians. I wish they could clone him, to see how much mankind has changed since his time. ---

--- Human Evolution [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:Prove of the closeness of races (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31142932)

I think that there has been several migrations into America. Google for "Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup" or "Indigenous Amerindian genetics"

hold it there. (2, Interesting)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142922)

Although both contemporary Inuit and the extinct Saqqaq migrated from Siberia across the Bering Straits, the Saqqaq migration was a much later one (5,000-10,000 years ago, compared with 20,000 for the Inuit).

Where did you get these age ranges? 20,000 years for the Inuit? Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK, and except for tentative sites in Alaska, existing migratory evidence that we have today for the peopling of the Americas does not go back that far back in time. We believe that the people in Beringia were isolated between 10K and 20K, but we do not know precisely when they made the trek to the Americas.

Now, the linguistic and genetic evidence DO suggest that the peopling of the Americas started that far back in time as a whole. There are findings in Alaska, the establishment of the linguistic connection between the Na-Dene languages (.ie. Apache, Navajo) and the Yenisean languages, or sites like Monte Verde in Chile (which challenges the "Clovis First" theory).

But where is the combined evidence (archeological and genetic) that says the Inuit (or any extant New World group for that matter) came into the Americas as far back as 20,000?

Now, let's consider what the article says:

His ancestors split apart from Chukchis some 5,500 years ago, according to genetic calculations,

The Saqqaq split from the Chukchis about 5,500 years ago. That date alone does not provide any window by which to speculate when the Saqqaq entered into the Americas. They could have split off when they entered, say, a thousand years before. Or they could have split off after their common ancestor entered the Americas with the ancestors of the Chukchis moving back into Siberia. Purely speculative I know, but the models of migration does not preclude back-and-forth migration over the ice sheets/along the Beringian corridor (which if you think about it, it's very sensible and pausible.) Moreover, the ancestors of the Inuit and Saqqaq could have split off back in Siberia and way before their independent entrances into the Americas. I just don't see how TimFinger came up with this 10K-20K year range.

Re:hold it there. (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143854)

But where is the combined evidence (archeological and genetic) that says the Inuit (or any extant New World group for that matter) came into the Americas as far back as 20,000?

Let me re-phrase the question, just so that there are no misunderstandings: is there any particular native group X in the Americas for which there is enough combined evidence (BOTH archeological and genetic) that can firmly clock their (either unique or last) trek and permanent move into the Americas to a date as far back as 20,000?

What about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143266)

what about highlander?

Just a Minute! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31150704)

Genetic analysis revealed that 'Inuk' was stocky, possibly with a receding hairline, had a cold-adapted metabolism, A+ blood type, and possibly a rather bad haircut.

Give me back my DNA sample!

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