Rebuilt DNA Could Lead to Cloned Neanderthals

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As scientists come closer to completing a draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome, creating a living person from an ancient DNA sequence is becoming a real possibility, according to Archaeology Magazine.

In 2005, 454 Life Sciences began a project with the Max Planck Institute to sequence the genetic code of a 30,000 year old Neanderthal woman. Now nearly complete, the sequence will let scientists look at the genetic blueprint of humankind's nearest relative, understand its biology and maybe even create a living person.

The work is possible today thanks to vast increases in computing power over the past few years. 454's Thomas Jarvie told the magazine, "Six years ago if you wanted to sequence E. coli... it would have taken one or maybe two million dollars, and it would have taken a year and 150 people. Nowadays, one person can do it in two days."

The restoration of DNA tens of thousands of years old has been challenged by chemical changes, breakdown of the biological matter and contaminants. And once the DNA sequencing is complete, creating a clone from it is still an inexact science.

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