Ancient sex, modern benefit?


July 29, 2015

Successful interbreeding by Homo sapiens emerging from Africa with Neanderthals and Denisovans may have led to the acquisition of genes favorable to human adaptation, reports Nature Magazine.

The emphasis is on the word “may”. At a meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution in Vienna on 15 July, several scientists suggested possibilities H. sapiens encountering Neanderthals and Denisovans 60,000 years ago in Central Asia, through sexual contacts with these peoples may have passed on to further generations genes which aided in adapting to higher altitudes. The H. sapiens may also have passed on less beneficial genes, such as a increased vulnerability to asthma.

Read this most interesting article in the current issue of Nature.