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Pheramor, a startup based in Houston, Texas, says it can use your DNA to find you a perfect match.For just .99, plus a membership fee of per month, the company uses information it gathers from DNA swabbed from your cheek — sent by mail, 23and Me-style — plus personality traits gleaned from your social media profile, to identify people in your area with whom you’re compatible."This is the first and the oldest Pleistocene DNA of our species recovered in Africa," explains co-senior author Abdeljalil Bouzouggar."Due to challenging conditions for DNA preservation, relatively few ancient genomes have been recovered from Africa and none of them so far predate the introduction of agriculture in North Africa," explains first author Marieke van de Loosdrecht of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.An international team of researchers have sequenced DNA from individuals from Morocco dating to approximately 15,000 years ago.This is the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa ever successfully analyzed.Sub-Saharan heritage from a previously unknown ancient population Though the scientists found clear markers linking the heritage in question to sub-Saharan Africa, no previously identified population has the precise combination of genetic markers that the Taforalt individuals had.While some aspects match modern Hadza hunter-gatherers from East Africa and others match modern West Africans, neither of these groups has the same combination of characteristics as the Taforalt individuals.
Although the connections between these regions have been shown in previous studies for more recent time periods, it was not generally believed that humans were interacting across these distances during the Stone Age.Similarly, it is part of the Mediterranean region, but in the past the sea could have presented a barrier to interaction with others as well."A better understanding of the history of North Africa is critical to understanding the history of our species," explains co-author Saaïd Amzazi of Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco."Grotte des Pigeons is a crucial site to understanding the human history of north-western Africa, since modern humans frequently inhabited this cave intensively during prolonged periods throughout the Middle and Later Stone Age," explains co-author Louise Humphrey of the Natural History Museum in London."Around 15,000 years ago there is evidence for more intensive use of the site and the Iberomaurusians started to bury their dead at the back of the cave." 15,000-year-old nuclear DNA is the oldest recovered in Africa The researchers analyzed DNA from nine individuals from Taforalt using advanced sequencing and analytical methods.