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20% of Neanderthal Genome Survives In Humans 202

vinces99 writes "A substantial fraction of the Neanderthal genome persists in modern human populations. A new analysis (abstract) of 665 people from Europe and East Asia shows that more than 20 percent of the Neanderthal genome survives in the DNA of this contemporary group, whose genetic information is part of the 1,000 Genomes Project." Another study published today (abstract) finds that Neanderthal genes are present in some parts of our genome that we've found to be important. Some of the genes influence fertility and skin pigment, and others actually increase our susceptibility to diseases like diabetes and lupus. The researchers are now taking these known genetic markers and seeing if they correlate with any other health conditions.
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20% of Neanderthal Genome Survives In Humans

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  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @06:34PM (#46104633)

    These genes do not exist in humanity in general, only specific racial groups. They are completely absent from African populations. Similar to milk digestion. Being able to digest milk in adulthood is a feature found almost only in European race populations, because it is allowed by a genetic mutation that occured in these populations 10,000 years ago. Most other racial groups are lactose intolerant after early childhood. Milk digestion in adulthood is certainly a huge advantage and became much favored with cattle domestication in Europe.

    The insertion of neanderthal genes happened around 30,000 years ago immediately after early humans left africa, after that there were 30,000 years of divergent evolution and branching that gave us the geographically distinct racial groups.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @07:17PM (#46105081)

    This map distribution show African milk tolerant populations:

  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @07:24PM (#46105153) Journal

    Lactose intolerance is complex. The Tuareg of Saharan Africa have lower lactose intolerance rates than Finnish people, for instance. It mostly has to do with whether a group has spent a long time as nomadic herders or not, and adult persistence of lactase activity appears to be caused by several different mutations, that arose spontaneously. http://s1.zetaboards.com/anthr... [zetaboards.com] has a nice list of adult lactase activity in different ethnic groups.

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @08:19PM (#46105667) Journal
    Not that I disagree but it's worth pointing out that the summary is a bit misleading. Europeans share these genes but africans do not and it's 20% of the .15% of the neaderthal genome that is distinct, obviously humans share a lot more than 20% of their DNA with neaderthals, we share a lot more than that with primates!

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