Apr 6, 2016

An evolutionary medicine perspective on Neandertal extinction

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Alexis P SullivanGeorge H Perry

Abstract

The Eurasian sympatry of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans - beginning at least 45,000 years ago and lasting for more than 5,000 years - has long sparked anthropological interest into the factors that potentially contributed to Neandertal extinction. Among many different hypotheses, the "differential pathogen resistance" extinction model posits that Neandertals were disproportionately affected by exposure to novel infectious diseases that were transmitted during the period of spatiotemporal sympatry with modern humans. Comparisons of new archaic hominin paleogenome sequences with modern human genomes have confirmed a history of genetic admixture - and thus direct contact - between humans and Neandertals. Analyses of these data have also shown that Neandertal nuclear genome genetic diversity was likely considerably lower than that of the Eurasian anatomically modern humans with whom they came into contact, perhaps leaving Neandertal innate immune systems relatively more susceptible to novel pathogens. In this study, we compared levels of genetic diversity in genes for which genetic variation is hypothesized to benefit pathogen defense among Neandertals and African, European, and Asian modern humans, using available exom...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Gene Polymorphism
Genome-Wide Association Study
Study
Immune System
Pongidae
Genome
Genes
Pathogenic Organism
Candidate Disease Gene
Extracellular Matrix Organization

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