Saturday, May 8, 2010

It had to be true - Neanderthals and humans "dated"

DNA genome shows interbreeding in the Middle-East, Eurasia, Europe, but not Africa
The Neanderthal Genome Project scientific interview 6/3/09

The following news articles and more occurred  5/7/10....

Turns out we have a lot more in co
mmon with Neanderthals than we thought. In a stunning breakthrough, researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have mapped the Neanderthal genome. After comparing it with the genomes of five modern humans, they found that 1 to 4 percent of the DNA in Eurasians was inherited from Neanderthals. This suggests that interbreeding occurred after early humans departed from Africa.

How closely are Neanderthals related to us?
They are so closely related that some researchers group them and us as a single species. "I would see them as a form of humans that are bit more different than humans are today, but not much," says Svante Pääbo, a palaeogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, whose team sequenced the Neanderthal genome.The common ancestor of humans and Neanderthals lived in Africa around half a million years ago. After that, the ancestors of Neanderthals moved north and eventually made it to Europe and Asia. Our ancestors, meanwhile, stuck around Africa until about 100,000 years ago before eventually conquering the globe. Neanderthals died out around 28,000 years ago. .

Scientists compared the Neanderthal genome with the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world: France, China, Papua New Guinea and southern and western Africa. The findings suggest that modern humans, after migrating from Africa 45,000 to 80,000 years ago, bred with Neanderthals then in the Middle East before spreading into Eurasia. The authors estimated that 1 to 4 percent of the modern human genome of non-Africans can be traced back to the Neanderthal. "The main finding is that there was gene flow from Neanderthals into the ancestors of modern non-Africans," David Reich, a geneticist and associate professor at the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics, said Wednesday. Neanderthals first appear in the European fossil record about 400,000 years ago. Roughly 30,000 years ago, the cave-dwelling hominids in Europe and Asia went extinct.

The researchers identified a catalog of genetic features unique to modern humans by comparing the Neanderthal, human, and chimpanzee genomes. Genes involved in cognitive development, skull structure, energy metabolism, and skin morphology and physiology are among those highlighted in the study as likely to have undergone important changes in recent human evolution.
Science Daily article

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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