In 1997, German researchers isolated DNA fragments from a 30,000 year old Neandertal bone. The fragments came from the Neandertal's mitochondria energy-producing organelles scattered in large numbers throughout cells. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been used for human evolutionary studies since the 1970s.
When comparing Neandertal and human mtDNA, researchers found that the differences between the sequences put Neandertals outside the range of variation of modern humans.
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Unlike nuclear DNA, mtDNA is Â inherited solely from the mother. (Mitochondria are predominantly from the motherâs egg and not from the fatherâs sperm.) Therefore, mtDNA sequences or orders of nucleotides generally remain constant over many generation
DNA found in the mitochondrion of a cell differs in structure and is separate from the DNA found in the cell nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, exists as a circular loop of double-stranded DNA rather than the linear form found in nuclear DNA. However,
Two sequencing techniques were developed independently in the 1970s. The method developed by Fred Sanger used chemically altered "dideoxy" bases to terminate newly synthesized DNA fragments at specific bases (either A, C, T, or G). These fragments are th
Techniques to read the sequence of DNA, letter by letter, have been available since the 1970s. However, the massive task of sequencing the three billion basepairs of the human genome required machines that could read and interpret the data.