Navigation Links
Oldest fossil human protein ever sequenced

An international team led by researchers at the Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Liepzig, Germany and Washington University in St. Louis, has extracted and sequenced protein from a Neanderthal from Shanidar Cave, Iraq dating to approximately 75,000 years old.

This is the oldest fossil human protein ever sequenced. The research will be published the week of March 7-11 in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"This research opens up the possibility of getting detailed protein information from past human populations, to make inferences about the evolution of human diet and physiology," said Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Physical Anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Trinkaus is considered by many to be the world's most influential scholar of Neanderthal biology and evolution. He conducted extensive field work at Shanidar Cave and is one of the paper's authors.

It is rare to recover a protein of this age and remarkable to be able to determine the amino acid sequence of this protein.

Protein sequences may be used in a similar way to DNA, to provide information on the genetic relationships between extinct and living species. As ancient DNA rarely survives, this new method opens up the possibility of determining these relationships in much older fossils which no longer contain DNA.

The research presents the sequence for the bone protein osteocalcin from a Neanderthal from Shandivar Cave as well as osteocalcin sequences from living primates (humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans). The team found that the Neanderthal sequence was the same as modern humans.

The team also found a marked difference in the sequences of Neanderthals, humans, chimpanzees and orangutans from that of gorillas and most other mammals. This sequence difference is at position ni ne where the amino acid hydroxyproline is replaced by proline.

The authors suggest that this is a dietary response, as the formation of hydoxyproline requires vitamin C, which is ample in the diets of herbivores like gorillas, but may be absent from the diets of the omnivorous primates such as humans and Neanderthals, orangutans and chimpanzees. Therefore, the ability to form proteins without the presence of vitamin C may have been an advantage to these primates if this nutrient was missing from their diets regularly.

This research opens up the exciting possibility of extracting and sequencing protein from other fossils, including earlier humans, as a means of determining the relationships between extinct and living species, and to better understand the phylogenetic relationships.


Source:Washington University in St. Louis

Related biology news :

1. Oldest cranial, dental and postcranial fossils of early modern European humans confirmed
2. Oldest dated evidence of cattle in southern Africa found
3. Oldest animal fossils may have been bacteria
4. Scientists find fossil proof of Egypts ancient climate
5. Researchers find new giant amphibian fossils in Africa
6. Molecular fossils uncover link between viruses and the immune system
7. Evidence of 600-million-year old fungi-algae symbiosis discovered in marine fossils
8. Spider blood found in 20 million year old fossil
9. Space matters: Estimating species diversity in the fossil record
10. Virginia Tech, Nanjing Institute researchers discover half-billion year-old fossils
11. Missing fossil link Dallasaurus found
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/1/2016)... NEW YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Biometric Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to ... According to a recently released TechSci Research report, " ... Sector, By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - ... $ 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... , a brand of Troubadour Research & ... Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. A particular ... a program where they would receive discounts for sharing ... "We were surprised to see that so many ... CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there are segments ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... with the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin ... (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Global demand for enzymes is forecast to grow ... billion.  This market includes enzymes used in industrial ... animal feed, and other markets) and specialty applications ... beverages will remain the largest market for enzymes, ... containing enzymes in developing regions.  These and other ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Cancer experts from Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, and ... new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just published ... , Biomarkers are components in the blood, tissue or body fluids that ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. Hoffmann, former ... of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School effective June ... UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading classes and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... discussions on a range of subjects including policies, debt and ... Poloz. Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian ... to the country,s inflation target, which is set by both ... "In certain areas there needs to be ... why not sit down and address strategy together?" ...
Breaking Biology Technology: