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Trends Biotechnol. 2008 Jun;26(6):285-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2008.03.005. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

Engineered polymerases amplify the potential of ancient DNA.

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  • Department of Biology, 326 Mueller Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801, USA. beth.shapiro@psu.edu


The generation of genomic data from mammoths and Neanderthals has reinvigorated discussion about whether extinct species could be brought back within the foreseeable future. However, post-mortem DNA decay rapidly reduces the number and quality of surviving DNA fragments, consequently increasing rates of sequencing error and forming a significant obstacle to accurate sequence reconstruction. Recent work has shown that it is possible to engineer a polymerase capable of using even highly damaged fragments as template sequences.

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