Evolution

Flowers of Amborella trichopoda

The sequencing of the genome of the amborella trichopoda (photo ©Scott Zona) helped solve the mystery of the appearance of flowering plants during the Cretaceous. Charles Darwin called it an abominable mystery due to the difficulty of understanding how plants evolved to result in the birth of the flowers. The Amborella Genome Project, which also published online the DNA sequences of this plant, has uncovered a horizontal gene transfer from other organisms.

A skull found in the site known as Sima de los Huesos

A team of scientists led by Dr. Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has almost completely sequenced the mitochondrial DNA taken from a femur of a hominid who lived about 400,000 years ago. It’s the oldest hominid DNA sequenced so far and gave unexpected results, revealing a genetic connection with the Denisova, a population of hominids still poorly known.

Australopithecus sediba, aka Malapa Hominin 1 (MH1) left, Lucy (AL 288-1) (Centre), and Malapa Hominin 2 (MH2) right

A team of scientists has reconstructed a skeleton of Australopithecus sediba, a hominid that lived about two million years ago, putting together the bones of some partial skeletons found in 2008 in Malapa, about 45 km (about 30 miles) from the capital city of South Africa, Johannesburg.

Neanderthal Skeleton

A team of scientists led by Dr. Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has announced the completion of the sequencing of the DNA of a Neanderthal taken from a toe bone discovered in 2010 in a Siberian cave.