What Neanderthal DNA Is Doing To Your Genome
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What Neanderthal DNA Is Doing To Your Genome

Neanderthals and modern humans, Homo sapiens,
have shared a long and intertwined history. We split from a common ancestor around 700,000
years ago, spent some time apart, but then hooked back up again before the Neanderthals
died out 40,000 years ago. Even though they’re gone, a part of them
lives on – their DNA. That’s because for some of our history together,
early humans had occasional… dalliances with Neanderthals. Our species were similar enough that the resulting
offspring were still fertile. And so that history is still within us today. Scientists estimate that for many of us, about
2% of our DNA is from Neanderthals. And it’s not just sitting there, doing nothing. A paper out this week in the journal Cell
shows that those bits of Neanderthal DNA can control how active your genes are. In some cases, it turns out, your Neanderthal
genes get turned on more, while in others, the Neanderthal versions get turned on less
— especially in your brain, and if you have them, your testicles. These findings reveal a new way that all that
ancient interbreeding is still showing up today, in you body. Because we’ve sequenced the Neanderthal
genome from fossils, we already know about a bunch of gene variants that we’ve inherited
from our archaic cousins. Some of these relate to height or how well
our immune systems work. Others change our risk for diseases like schizophrenia
and lupus. There are probably a lot that we don’t even
know about yet, and different people have different ones. But one way these genes might affect us is
by altering how often these genes are expressed, or turned on. Turning on a gene means using that DNA sequence
to make a kind of copy, in the form of RNA, which is then used ultimately to make proteins. If a gene is highly expressed, that means
it’s getting used to make lots of RNA, which usually means more of that gene’s protein
is getting made. So if the remaining bits of Neanderthal DNA
in our genome are changing how genes are expressed, that could be really important for human health. To find out what’s going on, geneticists
at the University of Washington measured levels of RNA in different tissues from more than
200 people who had Neanderthal ancestry. They looked at over 5,000 spots in their genomes,
where the people had inherited both a Neanderthal version of a gene — from either their mom
or dad — and a modern human copy, from the other parent. This way, they could see whether one was expressed
more than the other. We usually think of these two versions of
a gene — what geneticists call alleles — as being used pretty much equally. But it turned out, a quarter of the time,
there was a difference in how much the Neanderthal copy was expressed compared to the modern
human version. That’s a lot of places where having Neanderthal
DNA might change something! The geneticists also noticed something else. Sometimes Neanderthal sequences were used
less than the modern human counterparts, and sometimes they were used more, but overall,
they balanced out. But when they compared different kinds of
tissues, from different parts of the body — and they tested more than 50 of them — some
interesting patterns emerged. In brains and testicles, specifically, Neanderthal
variants weren’t expressed as much. This included a gene whose protein helps develop
neurons and create synapses, and another one that works in the whip-like tail of sperm. For some reason, we’re just not using those
genes that much. This, the scientists say, is a sign that the
brain and testicles have evolved pretty rapidly since Neanderthals and modern humans diverged
some 700,000 years ago. After all, our brains are structurally quite
different from Neanderthals. And as for the testicles, well, reproduction
tends to be very species specific – that’s why cross-species hybrids are often less fertile. What scientists think happened is that in
many cases, when Neanderthal genes got mixed in with ours, the proteins that help turn
on a gene were no longer as compatible with some of the Neanderthal DNA, which led to
a lower expression of those genes. But there are still plenty of instances where
Neanderthal genes are going strong. And since early humans also had…you know,
special relations… with other early hominins, like the Denisovans as well, the research
team plan next to check whether a similar thing might have happened with them, as well. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow,
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100 thoughts on “What Neanderthal DNA Is Doing To Your Genome

  1. So it’s just a massive coincidence that races with Neanderthal DNA have higher IQ’s then those without?

  2. We only share similar genetic traits with these savages because of common ancestry, not some years of interbreeding. Truth be told, hybridization would have left the hybrids infertile. Hell, I bet the lack of a chin and protruding mouth would make it more ape-like than human. Nice try, polygenist!

  3. Anyone think to hire a bunch of Subsaharan Africans as a control group in this scenario?

    Actually, that's one thing I've been wondering: how many people living today actually are 0% Neanderthal? I always hear that the part-Neanderthal thing doesn't apply to Africans, but after globalization, the gene flow would have had to have let Neanderthal DNA into Africa on some level, right? How many pure, unadulterated Homo sapiens sapiens individuals are actually living in this day and age?

  4. Humans didn't mate with Neanderthals because they wanted to preserve their genome or anything- they were just HORNY AS HELL and wanted to GET IT ON.

  5. What do you mean by 2% of our DNA is from Neanderthals?? If a Homo Sapien and a Homo Neanderathal can mate and result in a fertile offspring, their DNA must be at least about 99% identical. How close are our DNAs to those of a typical ancient Neanderthal?? If we instead assume that our ancestors were originally homo neanderathal, then how much of our DNAs is from homo sapiens?

  6. I knew that Europeans were so different from others…unfortunately…no melanin is usually a sign of Neanderthal genes….the less color the more Neanderthal…great vid

  7. denisovan are human n not instinct thay aborigin australian and Papua Nugini races , neanderthal does a fact instinct but let not be any discrimination anymore

  8. PUTT away your – insults : What do you mean – IF I have – TESTICL€S : IS – there : mush roomFORE!! doubt !? They found – a lot of : Early Human – remains IN : Vietnam – then 3OO.OOO Neanderthals – by : PROF Mc Namara R > G

  9. Most black people don't have Neanderthal genes… Were they the homosapiens that mated with the Neanderthal? Some think it was the early ancestors of the Arabs

  10. Outside of subSaharan Africa, only those groups that acquired Neanderthal genes survived. Groups coming into Europe and Asian that did not acquire those genes were out competed and died. There are no enclaves of non mixed African populations that managed to cling on outside of subSaharan Africa. The nonmixed populations with only African genes died out.

  11. Honestly, the idea of humans having neanderthal admixture is ridiculous and its a bunch of racist polygenist rubbish. If anything, we share some of the same genes as Neanderthals its because of COMMON ANCESTRY, not INTERBREEDING. Human evolution is a family tree, not a family bush.

  12. I have 4% and am a hunter but also a biologist. I also have a high IQ and was an exceptional athlete. From genetic testing, I have Neanderthal DNA in all my autosomes buy not in my XY. You have to wonder what those bits of Neanderthal DNA are doing/contribute. After 40,000 yrs. of selection, it's likely most are beneficial or neutral.

  13. for everybody’s information, caucasian’s are the ones with this blood and african or african americans are pure homosapien (well not always like a caucasian and a african american can mate and create a kid so yea) but pure africans are pure homosapiens

  14. Why do you think that Neanderthals are extinct? If I can reproduce with them, are they extinct because we look a bit different? Then is my Grandpa also extinct? …the point is that the history of science shows this tendency towards absolute conceptualisation a.k.a. "jumping to conclusions", e.g. the word is flat or the earth is the center of the solar system. Try turning off that thinking, and you may find that the origin of life on the earth is quite gradual and logical, that all things are actually living, and that the path from minerals to prokaryotes is right in front of our eyes!!!

  15. Considering that we interbred with Neanderthal and Denisovans, it paints a disturbing picture when you describe them as our cousins.

  16. That we had different size brains, I can understand that we'd know that. But how would we know that our brain structures were different?

  17. Fun fact: scientists haven't been able to find anyone alive today with a Neanderthal paternal Y chromosome yet have been able to find Neanderthal maternal (X) chromosomes. This basically means that homo sapien MEN were getting busy with Neanderthal women. Also means that neanderthal men were highly infertile

  18. On the one hand we are told that 2% of our DNA is Neanderthal, yet we are also told that 99% of our DNA is identical to chimpanzees. If only 1% of our DNA is distinct from chimps, how can 2% be distinctively of Neanderthal origin since humans diverged from Neanderthals far more recently than we did from chimps? I am confused.

  19. I was a bartender for a few years, and I can assure you that Neanderthals are alive and well. At 2 AM closing time on a real drunk Ladies' Night, you'll see women taking monosyllabic knuckle-draggers home quite often. More than they're willing to admit.

  20. I don't like the depiction of neanderthal you have subtly displayed, and I think it is really important to express how little we really know about human history, both genetic, and cultural. If you look at the track of what we thought we knew about either in the last 100 years it has changed quite a bit, and there are many anomalies, and unanswered questions.

  21. Outta all the photos that’s whitewashed in this world, you make the neanderthal look brown in the avatar picture.


  22. Well when human and neanderthal mixed we see a enlightenment in concoiusness threw new art and more complocated artifacts .Its possible that we got our smarts from them and denasovon and or other species yet to be found.
    No offense to africans but this may be why there never was complex structures ,art or tech used in ancient africa.
    the mix may habe advanced human lifestyles .just sparking new ways of thinking or spne type of motivation thats not natural in the first humans.
    I know no one is brave enough to bring this theory forward cause its taboo and a oppressed subject.

  23. There are many things this video is not telling you. Neanderthal do not have human body dimensions.. Neanderthal also have nocturnal eye sockets. Neanderthal are not human. humans share 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees but chimpanzees are not human..watch this video jNeanderthal? (ThinkerThunker)" on YouTube https://youtu.be/qk6dPSiIG54

  24. The entire world, except Sub-Saharan Africans, has 2-4% Neanderthal DNA, Asians having the most and scoring higher IQ in average. Sub-Saharan Africans have 0% Neanderthal DNA with an average IQ of 70. Correlation?

  25. Can anybody state how particular genes are switched on or off in a way a person with less than basic education can grasp ?
    Is it a simple dietary change for example?

  26. That's sort of unexpected that Neanderthaler genes are less expressed in the brain since the group of humans that did interbreed with Neanderthalers are on average much more intelligent than the groups of people that didn't interbreed

  27. Excellent.
    And thank you for wearing proper clothes for being a presenter for hundreds of thousands of people. Thank you also for having NO visible tattoos. (Yes, I may be a snob, but tattoos make my stomach roll, they show up only on personality disordered people).
    And thank you for not trying to stretch your earlobes down to your kneecaps. Also throughly disgusting, even more vomit inducing than tattoos.

  28. If you can get Lice you have Neanderthal DNA … if you get skin cancer from the sun your Neanderthal … if you and your dog have the same hairstyle … your a Neanderthal

  29. Not gonna mention that only those of us whose ancestors left Africa have that up to 2% of Neanderthal DNA? With the rest have much less or none at all?

  30. Nah. Neanderthals are part primate which is result of having Fallen Angels blood for when they mixed with animals to make the beast. You all mix with natural people of earth to survive. Die off already.

  31. People outside Africa living today have from 1% to 9,8% Neanderthal DNA and from 0,2% to 7,8% Denisovan DNA in 100% of DNA. Average percent is 2,5% Neanderthal and 1,8% Denisovan in West Hemisphere Countries, but 3,1% Denisovan and 2,4% Neanderthal in East Hemisphere Countries.

  32. Neanderthals were assimilated by the larger Homo sapien population.  This occurred over several centuries and it would be interesting to see if there is a direct relationship to skin color and hair color, etc. as could possibly be determined by DNA sampling.   Since Neanderthals adapted to a much colder climate over many centuries it is highly probable that they had lighter skin and hair color as well as eye color and blood type.  Neanderthals and modern humans have a 99.8% identical DNA genome.

  33. You are Lying if you are saying black people have neanderthal in there blood. Black people didn't mate with no cave beast.

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