Ancient hair preserves DNA better?27 Sep 2007
That's the strand of this LiveScience article:
Contamination from bacteria DNA generally make up 50 to more than 90 percent of the raw DNA extracted from the bone and muscles of ancient specimens, [University of Copenhagen reseracher Tom] Gilbert said. In contrast, more than 90 percent of the DNA extracted from hairs taken from woolly mammoth specimens in the new study belonged to the extinct mega-mammals themselves.
It sounds like this might make a difference to forensic work:
The new study overturns previous assumptions about where in hair DNA could be harvested. "When people thought of sequencing DNA from hair, the usual assumption was that the material must come from the hair root, which contains recognizable cells, because the hair shaft appears to be dead," said study team member Webb Miller of Pennsylvania State University.
That reminds me, CSI starts its fall season tonight. As if I needed reminding...
No Neanderhair, unfortunately. Of course, if we had real live Neanderthals, like that show that starts next week, I'd be after them like the OSI guys after Jaime Sommers. Or we could just send Hiro back in time to get a sample...