Friday, April 15, 2016

Trace Your Ancient Human Ancestry with New Map

A new ancestry map shows the distribution of genomes that are said to be of Denisovan decent around the world. The Denisovans are a more recent addition to the human family tree. While studies have concluded that all people of European and Asian heritage are related to Neanderthals, it is believed that people of South Asian ancestry may be more Denisovan than Neanderthal. Research found that modern interbreeding with Denisovans happened about 100 generations after the interbreeding with Neanderthals. These extinct humans ranged from Siberia to Southeast Asia and have certain classes of genes that may have helped modern humans to adapt to new environments. Scientists are able to determine which traits were better fit but studying what ancestry was removed or added through natural selection. For example, Neanderthal genes most likely contribute to tougher skin and tougher hair. The analysis of of these now extinct humans found that people from Southeast Asia and Oceania have the highest percentage of archaic ancestry while western Europeans have the least amount of Neanderthal or Denisovan genes. While there is increasing understanding of these extinct humans, it does not give enough information to confirm what they looked like, what they ate, and what diseases they were susceptible to.
I had never heard of Denisovans before reading this article, I have only heard of Neanderthals so it was interesting to read about. Reading about ancestry and genome analysis makes me want to use a website like 23andMe or to learn more about my DNA and my relatives as well as my percentages of Denisovan and Neanderthal. It also makes me wonder if there are even more different types of extinct human groups that existed that we do not know about yet. Neanderthals have been researched for years, but Denisovans are relatively new to the research world. Further research of DNA would be beneficial to understand why our species survived while our close relatives died out.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading new discovers like this. It is always intriguing to find out that once we think we knew were our ancestry originated they find another cousin to add to the tree.