Science, or TMI?
Sex with Neanderthals boosted human immunity
Some immune system genes carried by modern humans came from interbreeding with Neanderthals and other ancient hominins called Denisovans, a new study suggests.
"The cross breeding wasn't just a random event that happened," said Peter Parham, who co-authored the study published online in Science Express, in a statement. "It gave something useful to the gene pool of the modern human."
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/201 ... umans.html
For one class of HLA genes, over half the variants in Europeans, 80 per cent in Asians and 95 per cent of variants in Papua New Guineans originally came from Neanderthals and Denisovans.
That suggests that these variants gave a survival advantage to humans who carried them, the researchers concluded.
and yes, I had to google "denisovans"...
The Denisova hominin (/dɨˈniːsəvə/) is the remains (a finger bone and tooth) of a member of the genus Homo that may belong to a previously unknown species based on an analysis of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). In March 2010, discovery was announced of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile that lived about 41,000 years ago found in Denisova Cave (Altai Krai, Russia), a region also inhabited at about the same time by Neanderthals and modern humans. The mtDNA of the Denisova hominin is distinct from the mtDNAs of Neanderthals and modern humans. In December 2010, an international team of scientists determined the sequence from the nuclear genome of this group (known as the Denisovans) from this finger bone. According to their analysis, this group shares a common origin with the Neanderthals and interbred with the ancestors of modern Melanesians. In 2011 a toe bone was discovered which may belong to a Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid.