DNA testing can be a lot of fun, mainly because it allows people to see where they come from, offering them an insight into their ancestry. However, one of its unexpected effects was that it has many times shown that we have small percentages in our DNA that are not human. It has already been established that Asians and Europeans have about 2% Neanderthal DNA, which is indeed fascinating. Moreover, this percentage might be even bigger because recently, scientists have managed to sequence the genomes of five new Neanderthal species.
They reportedly lived between 39,000 and 47,000 years ago. According to a study on this matter, which the journal Nature recently published, these late Neanderthal species are closely related to the Neanderthals whose genes still exist in people today. According to Janet Kelso, the lead author of the paper, the genomes of younger Neanderthals increases how much Neanderthal DNA can be found in today’s people. Now, scientists are sure that Neanderthals mated with modern humans. However, they still don’t know much about how they interacted with modern humans and with each other.
Some people still have Neanderthal genes in the DNA
The investigations of experts have been limited by a lack of specimens and difficulties extracting DNA from those ancient bones. This also prevented them from sequencing more Neanderthal genomes. However, Kelso and her team managed to do this by extracting the genomes of five species from bone powder and teeth.
Their study revealed that even though modern humans and Neanderthals lived at the same time, the latter did not have any human genes in their DNA. However, this new discovery will allow experts to start reconstructing the population dynamics of Neanderthals. We now know that when they became extinct, our ancestors replaced them and became the only hominins on the planet.
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