Metagenomics to Paleogenomics: Large-Scale Sequencing of Mammoth DNA Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We sequenced 28 million base pairs of DNA in a metagenomics approach, using a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) sample from Siberia. As a result of exceptional sample preservation and the use of a recently developed emulsion polymerase chain reaction and pyrosequencing technique, 13 million base pairs (45.4%) of the sequencing reads were identified as mammoth DNA. Sequence identity between our data and African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was 98.55%, consistent with a paleontologically based divergence date of 5 to 6 million years. The sample includes a surprisingly small diversity of environmental DNAs. The high percentage of endogenous DNA recoverable from this single mammoth would allow for completion of its genome, unleashing the field of paleogenomics.


  • Poinar, Hendrik
  • Schwarz, Carsten
  • Qi, Ji
  • Shapiro, Beth
  • MacPhee, Ross DE
  • Buigues, Bernard
  • Tikhonov, Alexei
  • Huson, Daniel H
  • Tomsho, Lynn P
  • Auch, Alexander
  • Rampp, Markus
  • Miller, Webb
  • Schuster, Stephan C

publication date

  • January 20, 2006