BRANFORD, Conn. November 15, 2006 CuraGen Corporation's (NASDAQ: CRGN) majority-owned subsidiary 454 Life Sciences today announced that comparison of the human and chimpanzee genomes to Neandertal DNA sequences determined by 454 SequencingTM reveals that modern human and Neandertal DNA sequences diverged on average about 500,000 years ago and the effective size of the ancestral population of the two groups was similar to that of modern humans. The publication is the impetus of the collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology to sequence the complete Neandertal genome. The research, published online (ahead of print) in the journal Nature, is titled: "Analysis of one million base pairs of Neandertal DNA".
"Direct high-throughput 454 Sequencing of a DNA extract from a Neandertal fossil has thus far yielded a significant portion of the Neandertal genome, including over one million base pairs of hominoid nuclear DNA sequences, giving us the confidence to commence with the sequencing of the entire Neandertal genome," explained Svante Pbo, Ph.D., Director of the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute and lead author of the Nature article. "Sequencing the Neandertal genome offers the unique possibility to identify genetic changes specific to the genome of anatomically fully modern humans."
A parallel study on the same Neandertal sample also appears online in the journal Science this week. "The study was performed with conventional library preparation and more than 90% of the base pairs generated were from 454 Sequencing,." continued Dr. Pbo, co-author of the Science paper.
"The publication of articles in both Nature and Science is further validation of 454 Sequencing technology and demonstrates that we are the emerging gold standard for broad, fast and accurate sequencing of any genome, even one from highly degraded samples," said Christopher McLeod, President and CEO o
Contact: Ben Carmichael