Friday, May 10, 2013

My Ancient DNA

After getting my DNA analyzed by the National Geographic Ancestry Project, I discovered the percentage of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancient DNA I have. I knew that I'd have some Neanderthal component, as most Europeans do, but the Denisovan is a surprise. I even have more Denisovan. Where did I get Denisovan DNA? (At present they are most associated with Asia and Siberia).

It is amazing that just a decade ago, the question of whether modern humans and our ancient cousins interbred was controversial. Now that we have mapped the human genome, the Neanderthal, and the Denisovan, I'm amazed that even percentages can be calculated.
As stated below, though, the analysis is still in the beginning stages. The amount of DNA contributed from neanderthals to modern humans is very small. Still, researchers postulate that one advantage Cro Magnons may have gotten from neanderthal interbreeding was increased immunity to certain diseases common in Europe.

By the way, since we have the DNA of the ancient Denisovans from a pinky bone, we can map the genome. But we do not know what the Denisovans looked like, because we have very little anthropological evidence! We know very well what our Neanderthal friends looked like. (In fact, neanderthals are definitely getting an image upgrade lately. These brute 'cavemen' were much smarter and cultured than we suppose).

Baron- This is Your Hominid Ancestry

When our ancestors first migrated out of Africa around 60,000 years ago, they were not alone. At that time, at least two other species of hominid cousins walked the Eurasian landmass: Neanderthals and Denisovans. Most non-Africans are about 2% Neanderthal. The Denisovan component of your Geno 2.0 results is more experimental, as we are still working to determine the best way to assess the percentage Denisovan ancestry you carry.

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