Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic study of Neanderthal DNA reveals early split between humans and Neanderthals

16.11.2006
In the most thorough study to date of the Neanderthal genome, scientists suggest an early human-Neanderthal split. The two species have a common ancestry, say the authors, but do not share much else after evolving their separate ways. The study, published in this week's issue of Science, also finds no evidence of genetic admixture between Neanderthals and humans.

The study helps to explain the evolutionary relationship between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis). It also "signifies the dawn of Neanderthal genomics," wrote the study's authors, who comprise scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (Walnut Creek, Calif.), the University of Chicago (Ill.) and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany).

"Humans went through several key stages of evolution during the last 400,000 years," said study c-author Jonathan Pritchard, professor of human genetics who led the University of Chicago team that analyzed the sequencing data. "If we can compare humans and Neanderthals genomes, then we can possibly identify what the key genetic changes were during that final stage of human evolution."

Another author of the Science paper, Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute, sequenced Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA in 1997 and first suggested that Neanderthals did not make a substantial contribution to the modern human gene pool. This new study, headed up by Edward Rubin of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reinforces that long-debated theory.

"While unable to definitively conclude that interbreeding between the two species of humans did not occur," Rubin said, "analysis of the nuclear DNA from the Neanderthal suggests the low likelihood of it having occurred at any appreciable level."

According to the authors, "If Neanderthal admixture did indeed occur, then [it would] manifest in our data as an abundance of low-frequency derived alleles in Europeans where the derived allele matches Neanderthal. No site in the data set appears to be of this type."

However, Pritchard said, "We do not exclude the possibility of modest levels of genome admixture."

Pritchard's team suggests that human and Neanderthal shared a common ancestor about 706,000 years ago, and that the human and the Neanderthal ancestral populations split around 370,000 years ago. (Researchers found some genetic variation between the two species, which the team attributes to the ancestral population.) Both lines co-existed in Europe and western Asia until about 30,000 years ago.

The team used DNA extracted from a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen from Vindija, Croatia. They recovered 65,250 base pairs of the Neanderthal's 3 billion total base pairs and utilized traditional sequencing technologies used for the Human Genome Project as well as the new parallel pyrosequencing method to clone and insert missing fragmented DNA and create a library of Neanderthal DNA.

Unlike the libraries used to sequence the human genome, which contained only human DNA fragments, the Neanderthal DNA library is riddled with contamination from microbes that lived off the nutrients in the Neanderthal remains, as well as contamination from humans handling the specimens.

However, the scientists performed a variety of studies to confirm that the vast majority of the human-like sequence in the library was indeed Neanderthal and not just contamination from human bone collectors and laboratory workers.

The researchers then verified the authenticity of the Neanderthal sequence by comparing it to the human and chimpanzee genomes. This revealed multiple locations where the Neanderthal sequence matched more closely to that of chimpanzee and not human. Using the comparison of the Neanderthal to the human and chimp genomes enabled the investigators to estimate the human-Neanderthal divergence timeline.

The scientists also used data from the HapMap genome project to understand the relationship between modern human diversity and the Neanderthal sequence. Their analysis showed that the Neanderthal sequence could not have come from any modern human population.

The study suggests that Neanderthal and human genomes are greater than 99.5 percent identical, which leaves less than 0.5 percent of the Neanderthal genome that will attract much attention. Many of the biological differences between modern humans and Neanderthals will be encoded at specific sites, which is why the researchers were able to analyze enough data without having to sequence the entire Neanderthal genome.

Catherine Gianaro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

Further reports about: DNA Max Planck Institute Neanderthal sequence split

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>