454 Life Sciences and Max Planck Institute to Sequence Neandertal Genome

Posted on August 4, 2006

Neandertal and Human Skeletons

454 Life Sciences Corporation and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have announced a plan to sequence the Neandertal genome. The photograph on the right shows how a Neandertal skeleton (left) is unmistakably different from that of a modern human (right). The Neandertal is the closest relative to humans and scientists hope that knowledge of its genetic composition will improve the understanding of human biology.

Svante Paabo, Ph.D., Director of the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute, says in the announcement, "The Max Planck Institute and 454 Life Sciences are working together to sequence the Neandertal genome. Our expertise with ancient DNA and the Neandertal, coupled with 454 Sequencing, a next generation sequencing technology with unparalleled throughput, makes this an ideal collaboration. The advent of 454 Sequencing has enabled us to move forward with a project that was previously thought to be impossible."

The project is estimated to take two years and is made possible by 454 Sequencing technology and a grant from the Max Planck Society. 454 Life Sciences website can be found here and the English website for the Max Planck Society can be found here.

Photo: PRNewsFoto/454 Life Sciences Corporation; CuraGen Corporation,Ken Mowbray and Blaine Maley, American Museum of Natural History