To celebrate Chuck’s 200th birthday, here an interesting piece about Neanderthals:
Since Neanderthals lived side by side with modern humans in Europe for many thousands of years, it has been speculated that we may have inherited some Neanderthal DNA in our genome today, thanks to interbreeding.
But Professor Paabo’s team have found no evidence for this. They focused on a gene implicated in brain development – microcephalin-1 – which shows significant variation among present day humans.
It has been suggested that a particular variant of the gene, found commonly in Europeans, was contributed by Neanderthals. But the Croatian Neanderthal fossils harboured an ancestral form of the microcephalin-1 gene, which today is also found among Africans.