Biologists from Vanderbilt University found that Neanderthals gave Homo sapiens, some of the alleles that were present in the common ancestor of the two species. About his discovery, the authors reported in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Neanderthals — now-extinct relatives of Homo sapiens — lived in Europe, Central and South Asia. Their ancestors had migrated there 700 thousand years ago. Homo sapiens, started migrated to Central Asia and the middle East 100 thousand years ago, met Neanderthals, and often mixed with them. Therefore, the DNA of Neanderthals is present in some modern humans.
The authors of the new work has now shown that some alleles of these ancient sequences even have a positive effect on their owners. In practice, these reintroduction sequence could help to regulate the negative features associated with the DNA of Neanderthals, including autoimmune diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders.
The researchers used genetic data from two projects — 1000 Genomes Project and the Neanderthal genome project . As a result, the authors were able to detect nowadays people have a unique set of DNA sequences belonging to the ancestors of Homo sapiens and remained inactive until interbreeding with Neanderthals. Perhaps these alleles have helped to extend the life of Homo sapiens, to protect their health from certain diseases.
According to scientists, the obtained data can be used to Refine the scale evolutionary history.