At least 20% of Neanderthal DNA Is in Humans

At least one-fifth of the Neanderthal genome may lurk within modern humans, influencing the skin, hair and diseases people have today, researchers say.

Although modern humans are the only surviving human lineage, other groups of early humans used to live on Earth. The closest extinct relatives of modern humans were the Neanderthals, who lived in Europe and Asia until they went extinct about 40,000 years ago. The ancestors of modern humans diverged from those of Neanderthals between 550,000 and 765,000 years ago.

Recent findings revealed that Neanderthals interbred with ancestors of modern humans when modern humans began spreading out of Africa perhaps about 40,000 to 80,000 years ago, although some research suggests the migration began earlier. About 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone outside Africa is Neanderthal in origin.

 Filed under: Science

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