Friday, July 07, 2006

Blonde and brunette mammoths

Sequencing of ancient DNA from mammoth remains has revealed that these animals had genetic variations in hair color. The hair found with frozen or buried mammoths has been studied for a long time and can be quite variable in color, but it has always been uncertain if the hair color were natural or, well, if they were bottle blondes. Peat bogs as a hairdresser, who knew?
On a more serious note, this is the first complete gene sequence recovered from ancient nuclear DNA.

A companion paper in science shows that the same mutation observed in mammoth DNA has also
been under positive evolutionary selection in a population of beach dwelling mice.

I guess you'd have to call it a sandy blonde.

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