This is the blog for GW students taking Human Evolutionary Genetics. This site is for posting interesting tidbits on: the patterns and processes of human genetic variation;human origins and migration; molecular adaptations to environment, lifestyle and disease; ancient and forensic DNA analyses; and genealogical reconstructions.

GWHEG figure

GWHEG figure

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oldest hominin nuclear DNA sheds light on modern human-Neandertal relationship

Homo heidelbergensis? Primitive Neandertal? Denisovan?  The taxonomic identity and phylogeny of the Sima de los Huesos hominins has been a highly debated issue in paleoanthropology since they were discovered in a Spanish cave in the 1990's.

Last week, Matthias Meyer (Max Plank Institute) announced at a paleoanthropology meeting in London that he and his team were able to sequence the nuclear DNA of the Spanish fossils - the oldest hominin nuclear DNA ever analyzed! Results revealed that the Sima hominins' closest relatives were... Neandertals! Thus the modern human lineage would have diverged from the Neandertals/Denisovans lineage earlier than previously estimated.

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