Saturday, January 9, 2016

Neanderthal genes 'boosted our immunity'

We may owe our ability to fight disease to our extinct relatives - the Neanderthals and Denisovans.
According to a pair of scientific studies, key genes in the immune system come from our ancient "cousins".
The findings, which appear in The American Journal of Human Genetics, suggest we have Neanderthals to thank for being able to fight off pathogens.
But interbreeding may have had a downside, as the same genes may have made us more prone to allergies.
Modern-day people can trace their ancestry to a small population that emerged from Africa about 60,000 years ago.
As the African humans spread out across the world, they came into contact with other ancient humans based in Europe and Western Asia.
Genetic evidence suggests that these different "tribes" interbred, with part of the genome of Neanderthals still present in humans alive today.

Read the rest of this article...

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