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Neanderthals and Denisovans – and genetic links to modern humans

26 August 2011

This story can be seen at www.physorg.com/print233498054.html and at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825141635.htm and is derived from the journal Science – at the online Science Express, August 25th. Some modern human gene pools have derived beneficial versions of immune system genes from Neanderthals and Denisovans – this is additional to the shared DNA, from 4 to 6 per cent. The HLA class 1 immune system gene is rare in African populations and therefore could not have accompanied the migrants per the Out of Africa theory of modern human origins. It is more frequent in western Asia, while other immune genes were also absent from Africa but fairly common among East Asian populations (including Oceania). Researchers estimate Europeans owe at least half of their gene variants to the Neanderthals while in New Guinea, for example, as much as 95 per cent are due to archaic humans. Are we seeing a dent in the Out of Africa consensus? 

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