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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Jul;23(7):386-93. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 May 22.

New developments in ancient genomics.

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  • 1Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.


Ancient DNA research is on the crest of a 'third wave' of progress due to the introduction of a new generation of DNA sequencing technologies. Here we review the advantages and disadvantages of the four new DNA sequencers that are becoming available to researchers. These machines now allow the recovery of orders of magnitude more DNA sequence data, albeit as short sequence reads. Hence, the potential reassembly of complete ancient genomes seems imminent, and when used to screen libraries of ancient sequences, these methods are cost effective. This new wealth of data is also likely to herald investigations into the functional properties of extinct genes and gene complexes and will improve our understanding of the biological basis of extinct phenotypes.

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