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All stories about the research conducted by Stephan Schuster and Webb Miller

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A list of press releases about the research conducted by Stephan Schuster, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and Webb Miller, professor of biology and of computer science and engineering.
How the Mammoth Got its Wool: Genetic changes are identified that helped the woolly mammoth survive in the Arctic
02 July 2015Evolutionary change in a gene resurrected in the lab from the extinct woolly mammoth altered the gene's temperature sensitivity and likely was part of a suite of adaptations that allowed the mammoth to survive in harsh arctic environments, according to new research. In a study published in Cell Reports on July 2, 2015, researchers determined the whole-genome sequence of two woolly mammoths and three modern Asian elephants, predicted the function of genetic changes found only in the mammoths, and then experimentally validated the function of a woolly mammoth gene reconstructed in the lab. The research team includes scientists from Penn State University, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and the University of Chicago.
Living African group discovered to be the most populous humans over the last 150,000 years
04 December 2014New genetic research reveals that a small group of hunter-gatherers now living in Southern Africa once was so large that it comprised the majority of living humans during most of the past 150,000 years. Only during the last 22,000 years have the other African ethnicities, including the ones giving rise to Europeans and Asians, become vastly most numerous. Now the Khoisan (who sometimes call themselves Bushmen) number about 100,000 individuals, while the rest of humanity numbers 7 billion. Their lives and ways have remained unaltered for hundreds of generations, with only recent events endangering their hunter-gatherer lifestyles. The study's findings will be published in the journal Nature Communications on 4 December 2014.
Polar Bear Evolution Tracked Climate Change, New DNA Study Suggests
23 July 2012An analysis of newly sequenced polar bear genomes is providing important clues about the species' evolution, suggesting that climate change and genetic exchange with brown bears helped create the polar bear as we know it today.
Scientists Sequence Endangered Tasmanian Devil's Genome
27 June 2011A revolutionary species-preservation approach based on whole-genome analyses of two Tasmanian devils -- one that had died of a contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) and one healthy animal -- has been used to develop a theoretical model to predict which individuals would need to be kept in captivity to maximize chances of preserving enough genetic diversity for the species to survive. The research helps to formulate one possible plan of action to prevent the extinction of the Tasmanian devil -- a marsupial found in the wild exclusively in the Australian island-state of Tasmania. The research model also may be extended to other endangered species.
Ancient DNA from Rare Fossil Reveals that Polar Bears Evolved Recently and Adapted Quickly
01 March 2010A rare, ancient polar bear fossil discovered in Norway in 2004 is yielding a treasure trove of essential information about the age and evolutionary origins of the species whose future is now seen as synonymous with the devastation wrought by climate change. A paper published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at Penn State University, the University at Buffalo, the University of Oslo, and other institutions is filling in key pieces of the evolutionary history of polar bears and brown bears, including their response to past climate changes.
Southern African Genomes Sequenced: Benefits for Human Health Expected
17 February 2010Human genomes from Southern African Bushmen and Bantu individuals have been sequenced by a team of scientists seeking a greater understanding of human genetic variation and its effect on human health. The study's findings will be published in the journal Nature on 18 February 2010.
Mobile DNA Elements in Woolly Mammoth Genome Give New Clues to Mammalian Evolution
08 June 2009The woolly mammoth died out several thousand years ago, but the genetic material they left behind is yielding new clues about the evolution of mammals.
A Pair of Penn State Scientists is Named Among TIME Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People
01 May 2009  
Researchers are Finalists for Time's 'Top 100 Most Influential' List
31 March 2009Time Magazine soon will publish its 2009 list of the world's "Top 100 Most Influential" people, and the Penn State science team of Stephan Schuster and Webb Miller is in the running.
Hair of Tasmanian Tiger Yields Genes of Extinct Species
12 January 2009All the genes that the exotic Tasmanian Tiger inherited only from its mother will be revealed by an international team of scientists in a research paper to be published on 13 January 2009 in the online edition of Genome Research. The research marks the first successful sequencing of genes from this carnivorous marsupial, which looked like a large tiger-striped dog and became extinct in 1936. The research also opens the door to the widespread, nondestructive use of museum specimens to learn why mammals become extinct and how extinctions might be prevented.
Scientists Sequence Woolly-Mammoth Genome
19 November 2008Scientists at Penn State are leaders of a team that is the first to report the genome-wide sequence of an extinct animal, according to Webb Miller, professor of biology and of computer science and engineering and one of the project's two leaders. The scientists sequenced the genome of the woolly mammoth, an extinct species of elephant that was adapted to living in the cold environment of the northern hemisphere. They sequenced four billion DNA bases using next-generation DNA-sequencing instruments and a novel approach that reads ancient DNA highly efficiently. More information about this project is on the Web at http://rw.mammoth.psu.edu/.
Woolly-Mammoth Gene Study Changes Extinction Theory
09 June 2008  
Hair Untangles Woolly Mammoth Puzzle
27 September 2007  
Scientists Sequence DNA of Woolly Mammoth
19 December 2005  

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