Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Some Neanderthal Genes in People Today May Protect Against Severe COVID-19

 neandertal skeleton

    The Genes inherited from our ancestors can play varying roles when it comes to our immune response to diseases. A study from the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found genetic variants inherited from the Neandertals that have the possibility of protecting people against developing severe COVID-19. This study looked into a stretch of DNA on chromosome 12 where a haplotype- a cluster of genetic variants that are inherited together- that affects susceptibility to where the coronavirus is located. They noticed that the need for intensive care for Covid-19 fell 22 percent for each copy of the Neandertal haplotype a person inherited. About 25 to 30 percent of present-day people of Asian and European ancestry carry the protective variants. Some Black people in the Americas also inherited the protective haplotype, presumably from Asian, European, or Native American ancestors. I found this article interesting because I recently learned that genetic inheritance is an important factor that can help or hinder the immune response to diseases.




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