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Thread: World Map of Neanderthal and Denisovan Ancestry in Modern Humans

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    Senior Member Rhaegar Thorwald's Avatar
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    World Map of Neanderthal and Denisovan Ancestry in Modern Humans


    Most non-Africans possess at least a little bit Neanderthal DNA. But a new map of archaic ancestry--published March 28 in Current Biology--suggests that many bloodlines around the world, particularly of South Asian descent, may actually be a bit more Denisovan, a mysterious population of hominids that lived around the same time as the Neanderthals. The analysis also proposes that modern humans interbred with Denisovans about 100 generations after their trysts with Neanderthals.

    The Harvard Medical School/UCLA research team that created the map also used comparative genomics to make predictions about where Denisovan and Neanderthal genes may be impacting modern human biology. While there is still much to uncover, Denisovan genes can potentially be linked to a more subtle sense of smell in Papua New Guineans and high-altitude adaptions in Tibetans. Meanwhile, Neanderthal genes found in people around the world most likely contribute to tougher skin and hair.

    "There are certain classes of genes that modern humans inherited from the archaic humans with whom they interbred, which may have helped the modern humans to adapt to the new environments in which they arrived," says senior author David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. "On the flip side, there was negative selection to systematically remove ancestry that may have been problematic from modern humans. We can document this removal over the 40,000 years since these admixtures occurred."

    Reich and lab members, Swapan Mallick and Nick Patterson, teamed up with previous laboratory member Sriram Sankararaman, now an Assistant Professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles, on the project, which found evidence that both Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestry has been lost from the X chromosome, as well as genes expressed in the male testes. They theorize that this has contributed to reduced fertility in males, which is commonly observed in other hybrids between two highly divergent groups of the same species.

    The researchers collected their data by comparing known Neanderthal and Denisovan gene sequences across more than 250 genomes from 120 non-African populations publically available through the Simons Genome Diversity Project (there is little evidence for Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry in Africans). The analysis was carried out by a machine-learning algorithm that could differentiate between components of both kinds of ancestral DNA, which are more similar to one another than to modern humans.

    http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-....YVycr9Ln.dpuf
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    Interesting article. That picture of a Neanderthal there looked really familiar to me but I couldn't place it... then I figured out who it looked like.

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    As a proud 2.6% neanderthal(!) as tested by 23andme.com I find anything to do with the neanderthals facinating.

    Just a point to note on the map; it is obviously meant to show where the modern populations who bare neanderthal/denisovan dna live, not where the original neanderthals/denisovan populations once lived.

    Although there must be considerable overlap in territory between ancient Neanderthal populations and that of their surviving gene-bearers, Neanderthals almost certainly never made it to Iceland, Canada or Northern Siberia etc. Those regions were all buried under a mile of ice at the time when neanderthals were around.
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    According to Geno 2.0 my admixture is approximately 2.4% Neanderthal, 2.6% Denisovan. I believe we have found near entire skeletal remains of Neanderthals, but all of our knowledge of Denisovans comes from one or two tiny bone fragments. They were also found in a cave also littered with Neanderthal bones. I wonder if they cohabited the cave? Also genetic sequencing on the Denisovan fragments revealed dna from yet another unidentified human group.

    Not to mix science with cryptozoology and mythology, but I wonder if these denisovan and neanderthal etc were the basis of some of our indo european myth? Maybe the myths regarding dwarves, elves or giants are just remnants of different races of humans our early ancestors came across?

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