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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Revisiting the Neanderthal genetic news

While I realize that not all of us have been following this story, it has tremendous significance for a variety of reasons.

First, the fact is that there are living descendants of Neanderthals, demonstrating that the population is both not extinct and that there was apparently a breeding between humans and hominids.

Second, genome sequencing is taking us by leaps and bounds into uncharted scientific territory, where only speculation and philosophy had taken us before.

Third, considering where this might take us, in terms of the ever-increasing knowledge base in the filed of genetic research and mapping, we may soon have an answer to the question: is there a missing link, or were we created as we exist today?

"When scientists finally finished sequencing the Neanderthal genome in 2010, they revealed that 1 percent and 4 percent of some modern humans' DNA came from the stocky hominids. This suggested that humans had sex with Neanderthals, picking up some genes, and possibly even an immunity boost, from Neanderthals before the population disappeared about 30,000 years ago. But not all scientists are convinced that the genetic evidence alone proves ancient interbreeding and a study last year found that even if humans and Neanderthals did have sex, those encounters would have been rarely successful in producing offspring."

See the article on LiveScience at:
http://www.livescience.com/25361-monkeys-show-why-it-s-hard-to-prove-ancient-human-interbreeding.html

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