Neanderthal DNA

Neanderthal (sometimes spelled Neandertal) were a species of hominid widespread in Europe and some of Asia some tens of thousands of years ago. It is thought that we humans and the Neanderthals had a common ancestor perhaps 200,000 years ago. Like us, the Neanderthals migrated out of Africa. A number of Neanderthal fossils have been discovered in good enough condition to sequence some DNA sequences. A fascinating question is what does our DNA have in common with theirs? The sequenced Neanderthal DNA comes from fossils more than 100,000 years ago to more recent fossils dating to 50,000 years ago. Current analysis is that East Asians have about 2.3% to 2.6% Neanderthal DNA, and people from West Asia and Europe, 1.8% to 2.4% Research is also pointing to Neanderthal DNA being a mixed heritage, possibly related to cholesterol levels, allergies, blood clotting and possibly to several diseases. All this is tentative pending further research and more sequencing as more Neanderthal fossils are found with DNA that can be usefully analyzed.

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