Denisovans Interbred with Mysterious Archaic Hominin: Study | Genetics, Paleoanthropology

Denisovans Interbred with Mysterious Archaic Hominin: Study | Genetics, Paleoanthropology

In a new study published in the journal PLoS Genetics, researchers analyzed the genomes of two Neanderthals, a Denisovan, and two African humans; and found that 1% of the Denisovan genome was introgressed from an unknown archaic hominin ancestor; about 15% of these archaic regions were, in turn, introgressed into modern humans and continue to exist in the genomes of people alive today. Roughly 50,000 years ago, a group of humans migrated out of Africa and interbred with Neanderthals in Eurasia. But that’s not the only time that our ancient human ancestors and their relatives swapped DNA. The sequencing of genomes from Neanderthals and Denisovans has yielded many new insights into these interbreeding events and into the movement of ancient human populations. In the new study, Cornell University researchers Melissa Hubisz and Amy Williams and Adam Siepel of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory developed a new algorithm for analyzing genomes that can identify segments of DNA that came from other species, even if that gene flow occurred thousands of years ago and came from an unknown source. The scientists used the algorithm, named ARGweaver-D, to look at genomes from two Neanderthals, a Denisovan and two African humans. They found evidence that 3% of the Neanderthal genome came from ancient humans, and estimate that the interbreeding occurred between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. Furthermore, 1% of the Denisovan genome likely came from an unknown and more distant relative, possibly Homo erectus, and about 15% of these archaic regions may have been passed down ...
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