Many Europeans’ links to their Neanderthal ancestors may be closer than originally believed, according to a study published Thursday.
Some humans may have a closer link to Neanderthals than others, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology wrote in the study “A high-coverage Neanderthal genome from Vindija Cave in Croatia.” Although scientists previously believed that non-African humans had a 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the genome in DNA, evidence now suggests that they can have between 1.8 to 2.6 percent, the Daily Mail reported.
The new discoveries come from a female Neanderthal found in the Vindija Cave in Croatia in the 1980s, dated approximately 52,000 years ago. After researchers reexamined billions of DNA samples from the Neanderthal, they found that she was more closely related to Neanderthals that interbred with ancestors of modern humans outside of Africa, who had 10 to 20 percent more of Neanderthal DNA than previously thought.
“Advances in laboratory methods helped us to overcome some of these challenges, in combination with cheaper sequencing technology,” lead researcher Kay Prüfer told Live Science regarding the new findings.
The higher amounts of Neanderthal genes can increase the chances of eating disorders, arthritis, schizophrenia, a reaction to antipsychotic drugs, and even smoking habits. However, greater amounts of Neanderthal DNA could also make cholesterol lower, according to researchers.
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