Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Scientists reveal health benefits of breeding with Neanderthals

Humans rose to dominance across the world after breeding with Neanderthals, according to new research.
Interbreeding between the two species between 65,000 and 90,000 years ago speeded up modern man’s rapid rise to the head of the evolutionary tree, it is claimed.

It was established last year that a small part of the human genome can be traced back to Neanderthals.
But Prof Peter Parham, an expert in immunology at Stanford medical school in California, has now proved how this instilled a “hybrid vigour” in Homo sapiens that allowed them to go on to populate the world.
According to The Sunday Times, crossbreeding provided humans with a ready-mixed cocktail of disease-resistant genes when the species first ventured out of its native Africa.
This, in effect, speeded up man’s global dominance as they did not need to wait for evolution to do the job, it was claimed.

Matt Pope, a senior research fellow in the Department for Archaeologist at University College London, said the latest study presented exciting evidence of man’s relationship with his ancestors.

“If modern humans were getting close enough to share DNA, what else were they sharing?” he told the paper.

“Rather than having to evolve from scratch as they moved out of Africa into Europe and Asia, this interaction would have provided a fast-track to new environments.”


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