Hey, VerbalCant here. It’s been a few weeks of aggressive bioinformatics interrupted by real life and $700US+ in AWS bills, but we’re finally back to report out on our results. “We” are /u/VerbalCant and /u/Big_Tree_Fall_Hard, who collaborated on the whole project.
Here’s our paper. I hope that presenting it in this format (like a scientific paper, not a blog post or website article) doesn’t come across as too precious. We tried to make it accessible while still being detailed and accurate. It’s in Google Drive:
Read the paper, but there’s a TL;DR that I will just repeat here:
Things we didn’t find:
Evidence of alien origin Evidence that the mummies are human (or any other specific species) Evidence of genetic engineering Evidence of faked samples
Things we did find:
Three high-throughput Next-Generation Sequencing sample run files showing high levels of contamination and degradation, completely consistent with ancient DNA extracted after lying for hundreds or thousands of years in a cave. Reasonable statistical evidence that the sample run files were not computationally faked. Samples largely dominated by prokaryotic DNA (bacteria and archaea) and unclassified reads. Varying percentages of human-aligned DNA in all samples. A surprising and perplexing result for the Ancient0003 sample with very strong (>95%) alignment to the human genome: mitochondrial DNA most closely related in our investigation to a modern population in Myanmar, not indigenous Peruvian, broader indigenous American, or European. Interesting avenues for further exploration.
There’s a lot more detail in the paper, but I will say that I’m still trying to wrap my head around Ancient0003’s mitochondrial lineage. I’m not sure what it implies, but it’s odd enough that it makes me a little irritated that we have to call it here and publish our results. 😬
I am curious to see what happens at the hearings this week. I don’t think what we did says anything at all about the mummies referred to in the September hearings in Mexico. And the minute they upload new reads from those mummies to SRA, I’m on it.
I/we will do my/our best to answer questions async, or we could do a joint AMA if that’s the kind of thing people would do for this? We’re just a data scientist and an actual scientist, not anybody famous.
Final note: We have about a terabyte of processed data that I can’t afford to keep hosting on S3. I do have the whole thing backed up on my drive at home. Does anybody have some long-term space where they can host our data for other researchers to use? We’ll shout you out in the paper and the GitHub repo!