October 6, 2020
An international research team that includes California State University, Northridge anthropologist Hélène Rougier has determined the Y chromosome sequences of three Neandertals and two Denisovans, providing new insights into the relationships and population histories of archaic and modern humans.
Their research provides new evidence of ancient gene flow from ancestors of modern humans into Neandertals. The data show that Neandertals may have benefitted from these interactions, as the gene flow resulted in the complete replacement of the original Neandertal Y chromosomes by their early modern human counterparts.
“For the first time, the Y chromosome sequences of several Neandertals and Denisovans have been retrieved and analyzed,” Rougier said, win Denisovans referring to a species of archaic humans that ranged across Asia during the Middle Pleistocene period. “This is a major step forward toward a more complete understanding of our evolutionary history and of our relationships with Neandertals and Denisovans.”
The findings, “The evolutionary history of Neandertal and Denisovan Y chromosomes,” recently appeared in the journal Science.