Did Neanderthal DNA help early humans fend off disease?

Henrietta Strickland
October 6, 2018

The findings are consistent with a "poison-antidote" model of gene swapping between two species, researchers said. Enard then checked his list against a database of sequenced Neanderthal DNA and identified 152 fragments of those genes from modern humans that were also present in Neanderthals.

The Neanderthals as a species went extinct about 40,000 years ago. The human family tree is full of twists and branches that helped shape what we are today. "Modern humans and Neanderthals are so closely related that it really wasn't much of a genetic barrier for these viruses to jump". During this time the body of members of this species have developed immune defenses against viruses, widespread in Europe and Asia. "By interbreeding with each other, they also passed along genetic adaptations to cope with some of those pathogens".

Scientists think humans first interacted with Neanderthals in Eurasia, after migrating out of Africa 70,000 years ago. The Eurasian environment shaped Neanderthals' evolution, including the development of adaptations to viruses and other pathogens that were present there but not in Africa.

In their new study, published online October 4 in the journal Cell, the scientists show that the genetic defenses that Neanderthals passed to us were against RNA viruses, which encode their genes with RNA, a molecule that's chemically similar to DNA.

Researchers at the Universities of Arizona and Stanford published a study in the journal Cell, according to which the breeding of early humans with Neanderthals resulted in creating offspring resistant to unsafe diseases that were similar to flu or hepatitis. "That is called positive characteristic determination - it supports certain people that convey these favourable changes". A team of researchers from Stanford University have proved this idea.

Since viruses can not replicate on their own, they depend on the proteins found in cells.

After a series of studies, scientists concluded that breeding humans with Neanderthals was necessary for all of their descendants.

When Homo sapiens crossed paths with their Neanderthal cousins tens of thousands of years ago in Europe, they also encountered risky new pathogens-and, though interbreeding, the genes to fight those infections, a new study suggests.

The findings coincide with previous studies that found that the genes associated with immunology, common in parts of the DNA of Neanderthals that available to people.

It is known that CRO-magnons and Neanderthals interbred with each other. Those sequences are publicly available to investigators in the field. "The search for the remains of RNA viruses is very old - quite a hopeless case", explains Enard. Researchers from the University of Stanford (USA), which published the study, say that our ancestors have inherited protection from viruses, from ancestors who were Neanderthals. Viral DNA itself is easily degraded, but the genetic mutations they inspired can be identified in the genomes of ancient populations.

According to a new study, two groups Gann exchanged diseases and genes that protect against these diseases. Now, a new genetic survey has revealed gene flow between humans and Neanderthals was mediated by viral transmissions.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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