How is it the human race is 99.8% Neanderthal genome?

    And 98% Cro-Magnon......

    0  Views: 594 Answers: 1 Posted: 11 years ago

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    Neanderthals r us
    By Brian on January 6, 2011

    Well, not all of us, just the non-African sector of the species. It seems that humans of European and Asian descent have between 1 and 4 per cent of our genes from Homo neanderthalensis. If we are of African descent we have no Neanderthal genes.

    The story seems to be that about 500,000 years ago Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis separated out from a common ancestor. The Neanderthals lived (I won’t exactly say “flourished”) in Eurasia whereas we stuck to Africa. But it appears that the band of Homo sapiens who left Africa at least 45,000 years ago picked up some Neanderthal genes on the way. That’s all of us who are non-African. But not all Neanderthals have our genes.

    There could still have been and almost certainly was interbreeding at certain points after that. Some specimens are classified as hybrids. But genetically we are virtually the same. If you randomly select two human beings they will share 99.9% of their DNA. If you do the same for a human and a Neanderthal they’ll share 99.8%. Wikipedia says 99.5 to nearly 99.9% identical.

    In Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth: an argument for hope he tells us that if you grab a bunch of 30 chimps from somewhere in Africa there will be more genetic diversity among them than there is in the entire human race. That’s because we suffered a genetic choke about 70,000 years ago when there were only between 2,000 and 10,000 left somewhere in Africa.

    As an aside, Flannery tells us that everyone alive is descended from a single male who lived 60,000 years ago. Then if you follow the mitochondrial DNA we are all descended from a single female 150,000 years ago. That seems like three chokes to me. I’ve heard elsewhere that all Europeans can be traced back to six females, who must all have had Neanderthal genes. We’ll never know what went on in a palm grove somewhere in the Middle east.


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