Day: June 21, 2009

Giant salamanders

The hellbender and Asian giant salamanders (family Cryptobranchidae) are aquatic amphibians found in brooks and ponds in the eastern United States, China, and Japan. They are the largest living amphibians known today. The Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), for example, reaches up to 1.44 metres (4.7 ft), feeds on fish and crustaceans, and has been known to live for more than 50 years in captivity.[1] The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) can reach a length of 1.8 metres (5.9 ft). (Wikipedia)

The Neanderthal Genome Project

An international consortium of researchers is sequencing the 3 billion bases that make up the genome of our closest relative – the Neandertal

The sequence is generated from DNA extracted from three Croatian Neandertal fossils, using novel methods developed for this project.

The Neandertal genome sequence will clarify the evolutionary relationship between humans and Neandertals as well as help identify those genetic changes that enabled modern humans to leave Africa and rapidly spread around the world, starting around 100,000 years ago. (Max Planck Institute)