Strong Evidence Suggests Incidence Of Mating Of Ancestors With Neanderthals

by Monisha on  November 10, 2006 at 2:04 PM Genetics & Stem Cells News   - G J E 4
Strong Evidence Suggests Incidence Of Mating Of Ancestors With Neanderthals
A recent scientific study conducted at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Chicago led by Bruce T. Lahn suggests that human evolution may not be all about unprompted mutations that occurred on the spur of a moment but because of interbreeding with related species on the verge of extinction that resulted in the introduction of variant genes called alleles which has remarkably contributed to successful evolution of humans. Many other researchers in evolutionary biology have welcomed the findings of this current research which they support as it concurs with the long disputed speculation of other biologists who had previously suggested such a possibility could contribute to present day human genetic blue print.

Genetic and fossil studies concur that humans may have emerged from Africa 200,000 years ago and also hint that they migrated to Europe later 40,000 years ago. Historical and archeological studies assess that Neanderthals who inhabited Europe for several centuries became extinct about 10,000 years ago.

Majority of present day scientists have continued to believe that humans replaced Neanderthals somehow owing to their strong and dynamically dominant gene pool which selectively aids evolution of the species without any inter breeding whatsoever.

Earlier in a similar research Dr. Lahn and his associates had discovered a gene which determines the size of the brain named microcephalin which seems to have undergone a conspicuous change or mutation about 37,000 years ago. this gene's modified versions or allele seems to impart an advantage which ensures a fitness in those who possess this allele which is seen in 70% of the population today. This suggests some evidence of mixing of genes 37,000 years ago which could have resulted from the mating of our ancestors with the Neanderthals at some point of time during that era which has resulted eventually in the contribution of beneficial variants into the human genetic pool which have later been passed on to generation next helping to enhance brain function and human reproductive fitness.

Other reports on DNA studies are also pending and expected to be published in a fortnight or so.

Source: Medindia

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