New DNA sequencing technology removes contamination from modern humans, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of our origins than ever before.
From Ancient Origins:
The last few months has seen the release of several ground-breaking research studies which are beginning to demystify our ancient origins. This included the first ever complete sequencing of a Neanderthal genome, and two new studies which screened modern genomes for sequences with distinctive Neanderthal features. Now scientists have announced that they have a new technique that enables them to weed out contamination from modern humans in the analysis of ancient DNA. The new method, described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, works on very contaminated samples, as well as on incredibly ancient remains. Many years ago, archaeologists would handle fossilised remains without gloves because at the time people did not even know DNA existed. This means that many incredibly precious fossils were contaminated by modern genetic material, which made it virtually impossible to study some of the most tantalizing fossils of ancient humans, which were dug up decades or event centuries ago.