First Draft of the Neandertal Genome Sequence Released | The Institute for Creation Research
First Draft of the Neandertal Genome Sequence Released

The highly anticipated initial draft assembly of the Neandertal genome was announced at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in the United States and at a European press conference.1 This genomic milestone involves approximately 3 billion bases of ancient human (Neandertal) DNA sequenced so far, which is the same amount of DNA contained in one set of human chromosomes or a single genome coverage. This is a major event in the booming scientific field referred to as “paleogenomics,” a discipline that studies ancient DNA and is providing exciting new evidence in support of the recent creation model.

The Neandertal DNA was obtained from bone fragments using advanced isolation techniques developed specifically to remove contamination and alleviate DNA damage associated with ancient DNA. In addition, “next generation” sequencing technology involving new chemistry and instrumentation was used to rapidly produce considerably more DNA sequence data per laboratory run than previous technologies.

The effort to produce an initial 3 billion bases of DNA for the Neandertal genome was led by Dr. Svaante Paabo of the Institute for Anthropology at the Max Planck Research Institute in Germany. It should be noted that future Neandertal sequencing promises to increase the accuracy of the overall DNA sequence, as well as fill in gaps found in the current “rough draft” sequence. All of the DNA sequence will be placed in the public domain (web-based databases) for researchers around the world to freely query, download, and analyze. In fact, researchers at ICR will be using the Neandertal DNA sequence in a variety of research projects investigating the role of the human genome in the creation model.

Evolutionists consider modern humans and Neandertals to be two distinct human species that separated from each other 35,000 to 800,000 years ago. However, within the recent creation perspective, Neandertals and modern humans are not really separate “species,” but represent different human gene pools in time and location.

Consistent with this idea, the genomes are proving to be quite similar. In fact, preliminary findings over the past couple of years support this interpretation, as a variety of genes have been characterized in the Neandertal genome with high similarity to modern human genes. These genes are associated with such traits as pale skin and red hair, type O blood, and high levels of linguistic and mental ability.2, 3, 4 Since evolutionary scientists considered these gene variants to be strictly associated with modern humans, it comes as no surprise that the evidence will once again force “re-explanations.”

The Neandertals essentially represented a unique ethnic group that is now gone due to the same factors that affect modern human populations—factors such as migration, mutation, and interbreeding. Neandertals represent a variant genome from within the created human kind. We predict that future analysis of Neandertal DNA sequence data will add confirmation to creation, but consternation to other origins models.

References

  1. Pennisi, E. 2009. Neandertal Genomics: Tales of a Prehistoric Human Genome. Science. 323 (5916): 866-871.
  2. Culotta, E. 2007. Ancient DNA Reveals Neandertals With Red Hair, Fair Complexions. Science. 318 (5850): 546-547.
  3. Lalueza-Fox, C. et al. 2008. Genetic characterization of the ABO blood group in Neandertals. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 8: 342.
  4. Krause, J. et al. 2007. The Derived FOXP2 Variant of Modern Humans Was Shared with Neandertals. Current Biology. 17 (21): 1908-1912.

* Dr. Tomkins is Research Associate.

Article posted on March 4, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
ICR's New In-Depth Science Book: Chimps and Humans
Evolutionists frequently claim that human and chimp DNA are over 98% similar. They need this percentage to support their hypothesis that humans and...

NEWS
Fossil Chromatin Looks Young
What are the odds that a buried animal would still have intact DNA after 125 million years? Researchers publishing in the journal Communications Biology...

NEWS
Inside October 2021 Acts & Facts
How is the Lord’s handiwork on display at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park? Does the universe look old? What can we learn about science and...

NEWS
Two-Volume Series: Restoring the Truth about Origins
The subject of origins continues to attract interest from the public and the scientific establishment. Understanding our origins informs us of who we are...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Floods Form Fossils Fast
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
A Battle for Hearts
Since the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opened in fall of 2019, tens of thousands of people have walked through our doors. They...

APOLOGETICS
Eating Bugs Isn't Always So Simple
The Lord Jesus Christ deserves glory for why He made Earth’s diverse creatures, and He also deserves glory for the complicated details of how...

ACTS & FACTS
Does the Universe Look Old?
Since distant galaxies are billions of light-years away, some understandably assume that distant starlight must have taken billions of years to reach...

ACTS & FACTS
Hawaii Behind the Scenes
ICR Research Scientist Dr. Brian Thomas and ICR Video Producer Clint Loveness, with help from friends and family, recently shot footage in Maui, Hawaii,...

ACTS & FACTS
Mutation, Design, and Faith
Any alteration in a cell’s DNA sequence is a mutation. These changes can come from copying errors, exposure to chemicals or radiation, or from...