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Neanderthal DNA contributes to Human Gene Expression

Update Date: Mar 01, 2017 07:20 AM EST

The last Neanderthal man has been gone for more than 400 centuries, but its genome still exists in the present day human form no matter how big or small it is. The impact of the Neanderthal's genetic contribution is still uncertain until latest studies. Researchers reveal that the Neanderthal gene's effect on gene expression is likely a significant determinant if the present-day height and susceptibility to schizophrenia or lupus of the modern man.

In a recent study conducted by geneticist and co-author Joshua Akey of the University of Washington School of Medicine, it is discovered that even after hundreds of centuries, the modern man still possesses measurable genetic expressions from the Neanderthal man through our gene expressions, Science Daily posts.

The investigation and genome-wide interrogation of the functional differences between the modern man and the Neanderthal man reveal that there are Neanderthal-inherited sequences that are still interbreeding among the present-day man that contributes to the phenotypic variation, such as height and body types we see at present.

The correlation between the Neanderthal genes and traits such as metabolism, depression, lupus risk, and fat content is still present, but difficult to extract. Although DNA can be extracted and sequenced, RNA cannot. However, the researchers managed to analyze RNA sequences gathered from a dataset called the Genotype-Tissue Expression or GTEx Project.

Through the research, a hypothesis that the Neanderthal allele of a gene called ADAMTSL3 can decrease risks of schizophrenia, while also influencing height.

Meanwhile, in a report from Fortune, it is revealed that a person's DNA may partly predict the ability of a person to make smart financial decisions and accumulate health over time. An academic paper on an emerging field known as Genoeconomics was released this month revealing a strong relationship between genes and wealth and other factors.

The paper was authored by Daniel Barth of the Center for Economic and Social Research at the University of Southern California, Nicholas Papageorge from the Johns Hopkins University, and Kevin Thom of New York University.

Further studies on the Neanderthal relics as well as the Denisovans, another species of hominins is being conducted to contribute to gene expression to see the difference between modern human alleles and that of the historic men.

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