Saturday, June 29, 2013

Researchers Sequence of 700,000-Year-Old Horse DNA - How This Relates to Preventative Medicine

My thoughts:  Though this only provides one piece of historical information, it makes me wonder if medical scientists will be more able to predict patterns of future evolution.  For example, if certain DNA patterns have been lost or gained, then perhaps scientists will have an idea about how the human race will develop.  If humans are to become more susceptible to certain diseases and/or conditions, maybe they could be prevented before they would even have the chance to begin.  This, in my opinion, is the ultimate type of preventative medicine.  Today, there seems to be a lack of focus on preventative medicine and care.  Though there are clearly many parts to this, including vaccinations and other public health measures, I think this focus is least apparent in genetics.  Should more money be spent on genetic research?  And furthermore, should this money be spend on sequencing ancient DNA?  While incredible, I'm not sure if this DNA can make for better healthcare anytime in the foreseeable future.  Feel free to comment.

Scientists sequence 700,000-year-old DNA from frozen horse bone unearthed in Canada
June 29, 2013 1:13 pm by Young, Susan | 0 Comments

Small pieces of a horse's foot bone that were frozen for approximately 700,000 years in the Yukon Territory of Canada have yielded the oldest genome sequence of any species to date.
Scientists unearthed the bone fragments from the Artic permafrost in 2003 and dated the fossils to be between 560,000 - 780,000 years old. Using mass spectroscopy, they found that collagen and other proteins had survived since the Middle Pleistocene and so decided to see if DNA had also endured.
 It had, and the resulting genome is nearly ten times older than any DNA previously sequenced, thus "breaking the time barrier" for the age of DNA viable for such analysis, said study author Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen at a press conference in Helsinki on Wednesday. 
While the cold and dry conditions of the permafrost helped keep the DNA intact, the authors also perfected techniques for handling and analyzing the ancient DNA

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