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Decoding an ancient cave bear. A two-ton, thirteen-foot cave bear, extinct for ten thousand years, has just experienced a rebirth of sorts. From a tooth and a bone, scientists have recovered its entire genetic code.Eddy Rubin, director of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, says finding genuine cave bear DNA was like looking for a needle in a haystack. The haystack were all the other organisms that were living in the bones and in the tooth of this ancient creature. And the needle was the little bit of the ancient creature's genome DNA, or genes.They used state-of-the-art computer technology to separate the bear genes from the clutter. Jurassic Park fans should note that they can't clone a new cave bear, nor can they recover DNA from creatures as old as the dinosaurs. But they do hope to reconstruct the genetic code of Neanderthals, our closest non-human relatives, to better understand how our own species evolved. This resource contains detailed text description of the research as well as likes for further inquiry.
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