Inherited Neanderthal, Denisovan DNA may help with our metabolism, immunity and diet

an unknown human ancestor may have mated with neanderthals and denisovans x
Depiction of a Denisovan. Image: Earth

Neanderthals and Denisovans went extinct some 35,000 to 40,000 years ago, but not before these closely related hominins interbred with modern humans. To this very day, the legacy of these interbreeding episodes live on in our DNA—at least among humans of European and Asian descent. As to why some of these archaic genes have stuck around over the eons is not fully understood, nor is their potential role in human functioning and health, whether good or bad.

New research published [October 17] in Science dives into these unknowns, uncovering new evidence suggesting some of these inherited genes—at least among modern Melanesians—conferred certain evolutionary benefits.

Related article:  Should you freeze your sperm? The biological clock is ticking for men, too

This analysis resulted in the identification of inherited Neanderthal and Denisovan [copy number variants, CNVs] associated with adaptive selection, including CNVs associated with diet, metabolism, immunity, and cellular functions. The researchers also found two previously unknown genes, one from Neanderthals and one from Denisovans.

“Our results collectively suggest that large CNVs originating in archaic hominins and introgressed into modern humans have played an important role in local population adaptation and represent an insufficiently studied source of large-scale genetic variation,” the study authors wrote.

Read full, original post: Modern Humans Inherited Even More DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans Than We Thought

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend