Cleanroom operators at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have done some remarkable research on a 700,000 year old horse skull. The skull was found in permafrost in Yukon, Canada and has been very well preserved.
From this sample scientists were able to extract DNA molecules that would be used to help create a genome sequence. Because of the age of the horse sample, only short pieces of the DNA were left over. Scientists were able to assemble these pieces by comparing them to them to the genomes of a 43,000 year old horse, present day horses and a donkey. From this pool of information scientists were able to determine how fast the genome mutation rate was moving.
What makes this whole process noteworthy is that this horse has set the record for being the oldest genome sequenced. This is definitely ground breaking work and is sure to open up doors for future research on other ancient remains.