Friday, May 7, 2010

Modern Human and Neaderthal

Svante Paabo a Swedish geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology published in Science the results of an ongoing study comparing the genome of modern humans with Neanderthals. Some surprises were found. They extracted the genetic code from three Neanderthal specimens and got about 60% of the Neanderthal genome. They then compared it to the genomes from five different modern humans from different parts of the world. This is where it gets interesting. They found some similarities with those from New Guinea, China and France than they did from those from Africa. This suggests that there was interbreeding about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, or just as modern humans were coming out of Africa. And probably some where in the middle east this hanky panky occurred. Five genes stood out as different and several showed a difference for positive selection for cognition in modern humans. The amount of neanderthal genetic in modern humans is very small only about 1-4%. Modern humans and neanderthals last common ancestor occurred approximately 500,000 years ago. I find this study and the implications fascinating and this is only the beginning of the research. So stayed tuned.

Skeptical DoDo

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