Just 7% of our DNA is unique to modern humans, study shows – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-07-16 15:45:00 –

Washington >> What makes humans so unique? Scientists have taken a new step in solving a permanent mystery with new tools that allow us to more accurately compare the DNA of modern humans with the DNA of our extinct ancestors.

According to a study published today in Science Advances, only 7% of our genome is shared independently with other humans, not with other early ancestors.

“That’s a pretty small percentage,” said Nathan Schaefer, a computational biologist at the University of California and co-author of a new treatise. “This kind of discovery is why scientists are looking away from what we humans think is very different from Neanderthals.”

The study utilizes DNA from fossil relics of the now extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans, dating back about 40,000 or 50,000 years, and 279 modern humans worldwide.

Scientists already know that modern humans share DNA with Neanderthals, but different people share different parts of the genome. One goal of the new research was to identify genes that are exclusive to modern humans.

This is a difficult statistical problem, and researchers “developed a valuable tool that took into account missing data from the ancient genome,” said John, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the study.・ Hawks said.

Researchers have also found that a smaller part of our genome (only 1.5%) is endemic to our species and shared among all living people today. Those pieces of DNA may have the most important clues as to what really distinguishes modern humans.

“We find that these regions of the genome are very rich in genes involved in neurodevelopment and brain function,” said Richard Greene, a computational biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

In 2010, Green helped create the first draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome. Four years later, geneticist Joshua Akey co-authored a treatise showing that modern humans carry Neanderthal DNA debris. Since then, scientists have continued to improve the technology for extracting and analyzing genetic material from fossils.

“Better tools allow us to ask more and more detailed questions about human history and evolution,” said Akey, who is currently in Princeton and was not involved in new research. He praised the new research methodology.

However, Alan Templeton, a population geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis, doubts the author’s assumption that changes in the human genome are randomly distributed rather than gathered around specific hotspots in the genome. Was presented.

The findings emphasize that “we are actually very young species.” “Not so long ago, we shared the planet with other human pedigrees.”

Just 7% of our DNA is unique to modern humans, study shows Source link Just 7% of our DNA is unique to modern humans, study shows

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