Wednesday, May 04, 2016

What are the neanderthal diseases?

Europeans used to have more Neanderthal DNA than we have now ...

Ancient DNA from last Ice Age unveils distant ancestors underwent significant evolutionary changes | NH Voice

… the percentage of Neanderthal DNA in Europeans 45,000 years ago has declined from between 3% and 6% to around 2% in Europeans today. The researchers think that natural selection has reduced Neanderthal ancestry over time.

… Neanderthal DNA is slightly toxic to modern humans…

Perhaps Neanderthal DNA was more useful during the ice age, but is less useful now. Or perhaps it was never that handy — though hybrids were not rare.

It would be interesting to know what disadvantages/diseases moderns get from Neanderthal genes. Once we might have looked at gene products, but now we know things are rarely so simple. Genes are like letters in the English alphabet, not characters in Chinese. The letter ‘a’ contributes to both “Bad” and “Glad”, but those words (gene products) appear in many sentences and paragraphs (phenotypes).

There have been some early studies …

I’d wondered about osteoarthritis, but so far that’s not shown up.

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