Extinct Denisovans – modern human cousins – may have contributed genes to high-altitude adaptations seen in Tibetans

Tibetan boys, who benefit from Denisovan high-altitude genes. Credit: Nicolás Marino
Tibetan boys, who benefit from Denisovan high-altitude genes. Credit: Nicolás Marino

[A] cave on the Tibetan Plateau was once home to Denisovans, an ancient species of humans whose remains had previously only been found in Siberia.

The research, led by China’s Lanzhou University and published in the journal Science, shows that these close cousins of Neanderthals occupied the cave from at least 100,000 years ago – possibly as far back as 190,000 years ago – and used it until at least 60,000 years ago.

This has interesting implications for the timing and movement of hominins through Asia.

“We have known that some modern human genomes contain fragments of DNA from Denisovans, suggesting that this species of human must have been widespread in Asia,” says Bo Li, co-author and dating specialist from the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Related article:  Without solar superstorms, Earth could have been an uninhabitable gaseous ‘mini-Neptune’
Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Since this new site is not only geographically distant from the Siberian cave but also at a much higher altitude – 3280 metres above sea level – these ancient hominins likely lived across a range of environments and were far more widespread than current physical evidence represents.

This also indicates that the mixture of Denisovan genes into other hominin populations may have contributed to the high-altitude adaptations seen in modern Tibetan people.

According to Li, there is a lot more to learn from the site.

Read the original post

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