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Table 1 Evaluation of potential ancient DNA shotgun sequencing targets

From: Computational challenges in the analysis of ancient DNA

Species DNA preservation Biological relevance Closely related genome available
Neandertal Yes, reasonable Recent human evolution Human, chimpanzee
Mammoth Yes, very good. Draft genome published in 2008 [13] Limited; possibly adaptation to arctic environments Elephant
Mastodon Yes, good Limited; in combination with mammoth parallel adaptation to arctic environments No close living relatives
Dwarf elephant Maybe possible; young enough, but poor preservation conditions Rapid decrease in body size due to island adaptation Elephant
Cave bear Yes, good Limited; probably interesting in combination with genomes from modern bear species; long hibernation without muscle atrophy may be medically interesting Bear (not sequenced)
Ground sloth Yes, reasonable Size difference to modern species; parallel evolution in different lineages Tree sloth (sequencing in progress)
Saber tooth cat Probably possible Limited; unique morphological adaptations No close living relatives
Aurochs (Bos primigenius) Marginal; young enough, but poor preservation conditions in region of domestication Understanding of domestication process Cattle [53]
Homo floresiensis No, young enough, but too poor preservation conditions Relationship to modern humans; recent human evolution; island adaptation in a hominid Human, chimpanzee
Australopithecus No, too old Human evolution: potentially medical insights Human, chimpanzee
Dinosaurs No, far too old Unique evolutionary lineage No close living relatives