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Some Modern Humans Regained Lost Genes from Neanderthals

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE—Science News reports that evolutionary genomicist Tony Capra of Vanderbilt University and his team analyzed the genomes of more than 20,000 people contained in a databank of electronic health records and the 1000 Genomes Project. They found that when a small number of modern humans left Africa some 100,000 years ago, they lost some genes inherited from ancestors shared with Neanderthals. But when Europeans and Eurasians later mixed with Neanderthals, they regained some of these old genes, which can be found in modern African populations, in addition to Neanderthal genes. Capra says Europeans have more than 47,000 of these reintroduced ancestral alleles, and East Asians have more than 56,000 of them. For more, go to “Decoding Neanderthal Genetics.”

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