Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Taking molecular snaps of ancient crops

Archaeologists interested in the genetics of ancient organisms have a new molecular tool at hand — RNA. Two teams of scientists have decoded RNA from ancient crops in the hope of understanding the subtle evolutionary changes that accompanied the process of plant domestication.

Ancient RNA is also a lot more likely to catch evolution in action than DNA, says Robin Allaby, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Warwick, UK, whose team has sequenced small regulatory RNAs from ancient Egyptian barley seeds.

Read more: Nature

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