Most people of non-African heritage have some amount of Neanderthal DNA in their genes thanks to interbreeding between early Homo sapiens and Neanderthals around 50 kya. And that “gene sharing” is still affecting us today a new study has found!
For example, Neanderthal DNA in our genes affects what diseases we may or may not get, how tall some of us are, or how our immune systems work. Neanderthal DNA in our modern genes is both a blessing and non-blessing, in fact, with some good and some bad.
A new study from the University of Washington led by Joshua Akey shows that Neanderthal gene fragments in our bodies today are STILL ACTIVE in at least 52 different types of human tissues. They are least effective in modern brain tissue and the human testes. As it turns out some of this Neanderthal DNA may be protecting some of us from being schizophrenic! A gene known as ADAMTSL3 is a known risk factor for schizophrenia in modern humans. Seems the way this gene is controlled by Neanderthal DNA levels within us reduces the risk but increases height.
The team also found that some people have one human and one Neanderthal
copy of the same gene! Akey and his team showed differences in how the two genes differ in activity even though they are two versions of the same gene. They could also tell which gene had the upper-hand!
Not all of us have the same level of Neanderthal genes as some of us have more or less than others of us. Early modern humans interbred with Neanderthals to varying degrees so this is to be expected. So if you thought you were free of influence from those brutish club carrying Neanderthals THINK AGAIN! You’re NOT! But, then again, Neanderthals weren’t exactly the brutish club carrying cavemen we’ve made them out to be were they 🙂
Read the study at: