serious

Neanderthal Genome Project announced.

And, also, Graham is happier again because once more the General is not. I understand that the Prez has also fallen off his bicycle.

I have scanned a couple of images that I must remember to show you. Please remind me, if I don't do so in the next day or so.

Also, I notice that Sister Ray claim to have an early Hüsker Dü album called Ultracore. Anyone heard of this? I know of a song (on Land Speed Record?) of that name, but no album.
Really? Mapping the whole Neanderthal genome? Isn't that going to be a touch tricky? I am, of course, not an expert, and my understanding is based just on the reading I've done on ancient DNA analysis for my period (400-1100 AD). As I understand it, though, there are pronounced difficulties in using the PCR to reconstruct DNA even from just 1000 years ago without modern contamination. Those surely will be vastly greater for 20,000 BP or more.

Has something new emerged which will allow reconstruction of ancient DNA with better chances of accuracy? If so, I am *extremely* interested!
I'd just assumed that Neanderthal Genome Project was the name of a band, intended to poke fun at zotz's former employment.
No, according to my mother − who works in a broadly similar field to zotz − there is a Neanderthal Genome Project, and it is my presumption of Peel-Session-esqe music that is wrong.
Sorry about the delay - I've been trying to find some confirmation of this. Various places are repeating an AP article about it, but I can't find any other reference to it. I'd assumed that from work I'd be able to see lots of references in the technical literature, but I haven't found any yet.

The story is roughly that the Max-Planck Institut are going to do this, and Edward Rubin of the Lawrence Berkeley is also involved.

Google News has about 40 hits, but most of them are copies of the AP report.

With reference to the technology, PCR is indeed a slightly messy technique compared to some others - we tried not to use it if we could avoid it - but other techniques are available. In particular, this article from a month or so ago has Rubin speculating about doing exactly this in the future on neanderthal remains, sequencing their DNA unamplified, after successfully using the technique on cave bear remains over 40,000 years old. There's a BBC article about it here - with a picture of "Eddy" Rubin.

So . . . it seems the technology and interest exist, but does it mean that it's being funded and going ahead? I don't know. Perhaps the lack of widespread reference just means that AP jumped the gun on a press release. Or maybe they misunderstood something else.