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Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the breathing-easy dept.

Biotech 133

sciencehabit writes A "superathlete" gene that helps Sherpas and other Tibetans breathe easy at high altitudes was inherited from an ancient species of human. That's the conclusion of a new study, which finds that the gene variant came from people known as Denisovans, who went extinct soon after they mated with the ancestors of Europeans and Asians about 40,000 years ago. This is the first time a version of a gene acquired from interbreeding with another type of human has been shown to help modern humans adapt to their environment.

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Helpful Genes (4, Funny)

alzoron (210577) | about 4 months ago | (#47373983)

This is the first time a version of a gene acquired from interbreeding with another type of human has been shown to help modern humans adapt to their environment.

I'd have to say the genes for red hair were pretty damn helpful in making some of our women really attractive.

Re:Helpful Genes (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374013)

and crazy nutjobs.

Re:Helpful Genes (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#47374161)

yeah, it's the same gene.

Offspring of Denisovans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374271)

If Tibetans inherit their genes from the Denisovans, which means that they are cousins to the Melanesians, who also inherit (some other) genes from the Denisovans

One group - the Tibetans, are on the left side of China while the other group, the Melanesians, on the right, and one curious thing is that according to the Chinese legend there was a great war in between 2 tribes, resulting one tribe which was defeated and ran away and the victors became the ancestors of the present day Chinese

Perhaps the Denisovans were the tribe which was defeated, and their offsprings split into two groupings - one went to the Tibetan highland while the other one sailed out to the sea and settled at the Melanesian island on the Western side of the Pacific Ocean

Re:Helpful Genes (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47374533)

yeah, it's the same gene.

My wife's standing behind me with an icepick and wants me to say "No it's not"

Re:Helpful Genes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374203)

and crazy nutjobs.

Completely worth it during make up sex

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374211)

not when you land in court.

Re:Helpful Genes (0)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47374383)

You're doing it wrong. Yes, I speak from experience.

Rookie mistake (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374425)

Rape doesn't count as "make up sex".

Re:Rookie mistake (0)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 4 months ago | (#47376123)

someone mod this guy down

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47374267)

Who is to say some of the Neanderthal genes that have been found in humans are not "helpful"? How are they measuring "helpful adaptation"? Perhaps they mean the high-altitude features are clearly helpful, while the benefits of others are not known yet. (Maybe some of the top football players are the top because of Neanderthal genes.)

Re:Helpful Genes (5, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 4 months ago | (#47374551)

Who is to say some of the Neanderthal genes that have been found in humans are not "helpful"? How are they measuring "helpful adaptation"? Perhaps they mean the high-altitude features are clearly helpful, while the benefits of others are not known yet. (Maybe some of the top football players are the top because of Neanderthal genes.)

A significant number of those Neanderthal and Denisovan genes are thought to be very helpful. For example Neanderthal genes are thought to play an important part in the way skin works in modern Europeans/Asians/Native Americans/Australians (cold climate tolerance, resistance to some diseases, synthesis of vitamins). However, having strong suspicions that this is the case because a whole bunch of skin related DNA in these populations seems to have come from Neanderthals and Denisovians and suspecting that this DNA is important because Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA seems to have been 'selected out' of some other parts of the genome but is still there in the skin related regions of the genome is one thing. Proving it scientifically is a whole other matter. These guys simply managed to become the first to prove in a scientifically rigorous way the helpfulness of one of the numerous bits of Neanderthal/Denisovan DNA suspected to be beneficial. Now let's hope this stands up to peer review.

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#47375045)

(Maybe some of the top football players are the top because of Neanderthal genes.)

The myth of the supermuscular Neandertal is just that - a myth.

Last time I read anything on the subject (admittedly decades ago), a Neandertal in a modern suit would be almost (the "almost" being the shape and size of the nose, mostly) indistinguishable from a Homo Sapiens....

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47376869)

They've found a lot of broken and healed bones in Neanderthal skeletons, compared to Homo Sapiens. The implication is that they were more rugged than Sapiens, probably because they mostly depended on big game hunting.

Re:Helpful Genes (0)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 4 months ago | (#47377357)

They're both big-game hunters, but had a very different approach to it. Neanderthals had stabbing spears; they basically ran up to their prey and stabbed at it. The problem with this approach is that you have to get very close to the prey. It's hard to get close enough to a horse to kill it with a stabbing spear. It might be easier to get close to a slow-moving animal like a mammoth or wooly rhino, but then you face the problem that if it's in range of you, you're in range of the tusks/horns/feet. It's possible to kill large animals this way- saber-toothed cats did- but dangerous.

When Homo sapiens show up, they've got an entirely new technology- the atlatl, or spear-thrower. They can throw a dart 60 feet with enough force to impale a large animal. This means they don't need to get as close to strike. It also means that when they do strike, the prey can't hit back. The difference in build between Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis seems to reflect this different hunting strategy. Neanderthals are short and stocky, like wrestlers. Homo sapiens are long and lanky, like basketball players. For the one, strength is key. For the other, speed, agility and long-distance throwing are key.

This may also explain the different effects that the two had on the fauna. When Neanderthals show up, we don't see any major extinctions. When Homo sapiens show up in Eurasia, we see the disappearance of mammoths, wooly rhinos, Irish elk, etc. The run-up-and-stab it hunting approach of Neanderthals wasn't that different from the hunting strategy of saber-toothed cats from the prey's standpoint. Raining sharp sticks of death down from dozens of meters away was radically different than anything the local fauna had ever faced before.

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | about 4 months ago | (#47376637)

Who is to say some of the Neanderthal genes that have been found in humans are not "helpful"?

Take a look at Africa. I'd say they've been helpful.

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#47377331)

Sub-Saharan African groups don't have Neanderthal genes, unless they've interbred with non-Africans. Neanderthals were either never in Africa at all, or left it immediately and completely after branching off the rest of the human genetic tree.

Re:Helpful Genes (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47374273)

I'd have to say the genes for red hair were pretty damn helpful in making some of our women really attractive.

The Scotch must have helped it, too.

Helpful Genes (1)

cyberhooligan77 (2612877) | about 4 months ago | (#47376691)

Yes. Very attractive.

And, make men too much of a troublemakers ...

Breeding with another humam? (1, Offtopic)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#47373987)

Wish I could get laid...

Re:Breeding with another humam? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374021)

Why? Look closely at the men around you who have. You'll see all the bullshit 'compromises' they've had to make in order to get it, and even then, many of them still don't.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374041)

Not if they are alpha males.

Face it, human females have mate choice, and they only want to be with alphas. So the alphas get a ton of pussy and most males get none. The females, even ugly ones, typically can easily get laid, but men don't have this luxury.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374149)

And if you're on /., you are NOT an alpha. Lol.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374215)

And if you're on /., you are NOT an alpha. Lol.

Look, every time I come here, someone says "fuck beta." I figure it's the best shot I have.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374235)

And if you're on /., you are NOT an alpha. Lol.

God loves you.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | about 4 months ago | (#47376723)

And if you're on /., you are NOT an alpha.

So not true.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374385)

that's true.. the alphas are the ones who were alphas in college are now the buttwipes I was talking about.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (3, Insightful)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 4 months ago | (#47377015)

Not if they are alpha males.
Face it, human females have mate choice, and they only want to be with alphas. So the alphas get a ton of pussy and most males get none. The females, even ugly ones, typically can easily get laid, but men don't have this luxury.

First of all, a preferable term for "human females" is "women". Or, better still, "people". If you wan't to have a relationship with someone -- even if it's a purely physical relationship -- you're better off by not referring to them by species and gender as though you were an entomologist and they were some exotic variety of insect. Men are people. Women are people. And people have minds, souls, desires, and complexities.

Some people (of either gender) are primarily interested in physical relationships at this point in their lives, and some aren't. Some people are swayed by PUA strategies like negging, and some aren't. Most people, I would guess, want a sexual or romantic partner that they find physically attractive and enjoyable to be with... but those are highly variable qualities. You'd be amazed at what some people do and don't find attractive, when you scratch the surface. For example, sometimes a very wealthy and physically attractive person can immediately turn off a potential partner forever just by having a bitter personality or prejudiced attitudes.

If you're one of those people who's on a low end of the bell-shaped curve of attractiveness when it comes to looks, or height, or chest size, or hair, or wealth, or whatever it is you think would make you attractive to the people you'd like to date or sleep with... yeah, that sucks. I feel for you. Most of us have been there. 50% of the population is below-average by definition, and most of us are not media stars.

But your first step out of that hole is to stop thinking about how to become an "alpha" (whatever the heck you think that is) or lamenting that you aren't one. If you seriously want things to change, you have to find ways to relate to people honestly, regardless of their gender. You have to stop thinking of other people as your competitors or enemies -- especially if those people are ones you want to be in a relationship with.

Because those ugly thoughts will come out eventually. People have spent hundreds of thousands of years evolving finely-honed unconscious detectors for creepy behavior. And you don't want to be That Guy. Nobody likes That Guy.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374217)

Wish I could get laid...

Log out. Its usually one of the more important steps.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374231)

Wish I could get laid...

Log out. Its often one of the important steps on the way.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (1, Informative)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#47374481)

Although this sounds like it is meant to be funny and not insightful, were it a serious comment:

"Getting laid" is a skill like programming, hitting a baseball, playing a musical instrument, or building things. While some people may be born with a natural talent, it is still something you can learn.

The first step is to get a bit more mature. You are not "getting laid" you are making love and if you come across as desperate for sex and only wanting one thing, you will not get anywhere.

The second step is to develop your social skills. As a snarky AC pointed out, that means logging off the computer and going out into the real world and learning to interact with people.

And the third step is to make sure you are desirable to people. No girl wants to mate with a neckbeard. You need to take care of yourself so she thinks you'll take care of her.

There are many books / courses / resources on this (so called PUA). Try Richard La Ruina's The Natural. He is a bit less skeevy than some of the others who focus in just on how you get your twig wet and actually focuses in on how you need to help yourself.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374585)

I'd add a "fourth step": understand that different women want different things - that women will typically decide whether to wear their good underwear (i.e. brand new Victoria's Secret lace versus worn out cotton granny panties) before they even go on the date with you - that they''ve already decided the "outcome" of the date before they've even spent time with you.

Some women, because of who they are, want a long hard night in the bedroom and as long as you come across as reasonably nice and not totally psycho then you're in. Other women, again because of who they are, just don't happen to want that and no matter how smooth you are you're not going to get anywhere. In short, it's not about you - it's about them. It's not about how great you are - whether you're "alpha" or whatever. It's about getting to know lots of different women until you eventually find one who wants the same thing you do.

And, yes, if what you want is mainly time in the bedrrom there are women who want that, too. But you mama may not approve of such women. So you may have to choose between making your mama happy and making yourself happy.

Anyway, there isn't some single perfect woman that all the men in the world are competing for - by trying to be more "alpha" or whatever. There's lots of different women in the world (billions, in fact) and the key is to find a woman that's a good match for you.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#47374791)

Hehe. I think the "alpha" thing is and isn't a myth. You're right there's a certain type of woman that appeals to and some it doesn't.

But at the same time, a lot of it is conditioning. All their lives, women are taught they are sluts if they initiate. So they will go up right next to you in the bar, flash their eyelashes, and hope you start.

So if you are interested in getting with women, you do have to man up and learn to be the one who comes over and starts the conversation. Doesn't have to be fancy, can just be "hi," but as a man you must initiate.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47374841)

Hehe. I think the "alpha" thing is and isn't a myth. You're right there's a certain type of woman that appeals to and some it doesn't.

Pretty much true, being an asshole and unavailable though does seem to increase one's chances.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47375207)

And the fourth step is to ignore the advice from fools who make it sound like it's simple steps. They're lying, to keep you from being able to compete successfully with them, and even to get you to spend your money and give them prestige for providing you hope. It's kind of like passing the collection plate at church while people pray for rain: it doesn't *really* help that much, although the hope may keep you from climbing a tower and shooting up campuses.

Even Richard Stallman seems to get by with the "ask everyone, a few will say yes". Drives a lot of women nuts, but occasionally he scores.

Re:Breeding with another humam? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 4 months ago | (#47375763)

It is and it isn't simple steps.

On the one hand, you can make a huge improvement quickly if you do some very simple things like shaving your neck beard, updating your wardrobe, and turning off the computer and going out to speed dating, singles night, or some place where you are guaranteed to meet women looking for a man. Put simply, you can't hunt for deer in the desert, and if you're not making the chance for yourself then it can't happen, ever.

On the other hand it can also be a lot of hard work. You may need to also start dieting and exercising, and really working on your social skills if it doesn't come naturally. In that case while we may be able to state a principle simply enough, it might require a lot of work. For instance, fit guys with six packs get more women, but to become one you can expect six months in the gym every day eating nothing but protein. Easy to say, hard to implement.

Pick up "gurus" who give you tips tend to fall into the latter category of easy to state but work to implement. For instance, they'll tell you to talk to women. This is true, as you simply cannot ever get anywhere with women if you can't even talk to them. But, some guys get very panicky, and this is a HUGE difficulty for them. The solution for this is to start small, and work up your social skills (maybe by learning to first meet new male friends so you don't feel like you need to set up a date or something).

Are they worth it? Dunno. Some people are able to figure out how to talk to women on our own. But I think if a guru, or a dating for dummies book, or another source helps you, you should take advantage.

Re: Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47375273)

Well the Duck Dynasty guys seem to have done ok with neck beards...

Re:Breeding with another humam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47376163)

You've come to the wrong place, lad.

Who's invasive then? (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 4 months ago | (#47373989)

Could this be used to determine whether certain people are invasive? And they should leave on moral grounds. Or that they will face misery because of a gene they don't possess?

Re:Who's invasive then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47373995)

Yes. You are. GTFO.

No wonder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374025)

came from people known as Denisovans, who went extinct soon after they mated with the ancestors of Europeans and Asians

Well no wonder they died, there isn't enough oxygen at those higher altitudes to sustain banging.

Really bad explanation of the evolution. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374035)

The explanation of the evolution is terrible. If the gene was inherited from a "Denisovans" then that Denisovan didn't go extinct. His descendents are still among us. The gene did not spread through the population; the people who had the gene survived and people without the gene disappeared leaving more space for those survivors.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 4 months ago | (#47374119)

The explanation of the evolution is terrible. If the gene was inherited from a "Denisovans" then that Denisovan didn't go extinct. His descendents are still among us. The gene did not spread through the population; the people who had the gene survived and people without the gene disappeared leaving more space for those survivors.

Yes, the "people with the gene" were called Denisovans, they "disappeared", therefore they did go extinct. It seems you don't follow the logic of your own statements.

And just to make it even more clear: suppose I make dog with the tomato gene for photosynthesis (a solar powered dog, how cool is that), then kill every single tomato plant in the world with some Monsanto shit. It doesn't matter that my glorious green power efficient dog would carry the tomato gene... tomatos would still have gone extinct.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374727)

You get this completely wrong,

OP is saying, correctly, it was not another species. The reasoning is simple: If two living things interbreed and have an offspring that is capable of producing viable young the the first two creatures are the same species.

In your false argument splicing a gene is what happened, apparently you think a magic man in the sky found one species frollicking among the clouds, squished them up and took their cloud-dancing-ness and schmeared it into some random people. The two arguments could not be more opposed to one another.

The ancient species did not go extinct, they are we. Same goes for Neanderthals, they did not go extinct, they are we.

Put Crudely: If you can fuck something, and that fucking causes little fuckers who go on to fuck things which causes even more little fuckers then the first set of fuckers and fuckees are the same species.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 4 months ago | (#47374811)

I haven't said Denisovans were a different species... you are aware that the word "extinction" is not limited to species right? If all Caucasians | Africans | Mongolians died, their population would be extinct. Their genes would still survive in other humans, and that doesn't make any difference to the fact they would be extinct.

And how the fuck did you read religious connotations in my post? I'm an atheist.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47375069)

And how the fuck did you read religious connotations in my post? I'm an atheist.

Because you said that thousands of years ago specific genes were transplanted from one group of people into another group of people. That first group then went extinct, leaving only those spliced genes as evidence.

Since we didn't have genetic splicing until a few years ago, the two choices left as possible genetic engineers are aliens and God. Take your pick.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 4 months ago | (#47375287)

Because you said that thousands of years ago specific genes were transplanted

No, I didn't say that. The example I gave was only to elucidate that a single gene (or even a bunch of them) doesn't define a population. I read my post again and the message still seems clear. But ok, I'll make it fucking transparent: suppose I write a book and copy an entire paragraph of Shakespeare's Hamlet, then proceed to burn every single copy of the aforementioned play. It doesn't matter that a paragraph continues to exist in another book, Hamlet went extinct.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47377375)

I personally find it hilarious that you keep using arguments Ken Hamm (or some other creationist by using examples of a 3rd party copying data/ genetics. Also, I love your equivocation on the term extinct. Hamlet cannot go extinct by the usage of TFA, but you keep using it in a different manner. Perhaps if you were to use the same definitions as TFA and were to adjust your example to not have a Magic man/ alien/ creator/ god playing around with genetics you might be able to make your point.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#47377469)

Horsepuckey. Transposons (sp?) are chunks of DNA that get moved around between species by viruses and plasmids. It's actually quite common. We have many chunks of non-human and in fact non-primate genetic material in our DNA that was imported over the eons. I don't know how much of it is expressed as active genes and how much is just 'junk' DNA, I haven't read up on it for several years, but it's there.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

tsa (15680) | about 4 months ago | (#47374249)

One gene does not make a species.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 months ago | (#47374367)

By your logic then this morning what I saw rummaging through my garbage was a black dinosaur. However it wasn't nearly as scary as those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. For starters it's roar sounded more like a "caw caw", and it was afraid of a broom....

Re: Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374495)

Yeeeeesss... Birds are dinosaurs, whats your point?

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374763)

Yeap, if A gets down and funky with B, B has a baby B (B') be cause of getting busy with A, then B' goes on to have little B" then A & B are the same species. This does not mean that A and B(whole bunch of "'"s) are the same species but it does make it very much more likely. However if A and B(whole bunch of "'"s do the same deed that A & B did and it results in a fertile B(whole bunch of "'"s)+1' then A & B(whole bunch of "'"s)are the same species.

Note /. filters are pedantic and useless for trying to use real terms "'junk' characters" my ass ' means prime '' means second generation and so on they are not junk characters, but you(filter creators) are morons.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 months ago | (#47374407)

I find the idea that Sherpas have a gene that helps them breathe at high altitude a little hard to accept. How long have the sherpas been up there carrying shit for rich European thrill seekers? Sure, they adapted to their environment... but couldn't this be a non-genetic adaptation? Have you seen how fast high-school and college swimmers can swim? Where does their fast swimming gene come from? Fish? Did high school and college students interbreed with fish a whole bunch of semesters ago?

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (0)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 months ago | (#47374485)

You seriously think they haven't thought of that? Why do you think yourself so intelligent and scientists so stupid? Is it mere arrogance?

Not sure if joking or stupid (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 4 months ago | (#47374515)

How long have the sherpas been up there carrying shit for rich European thrill seekers?

Atmospheric pressure, and hence oxygen content, at the height Tibetans have lived naturally for thousands of years is a bit over half that of sea-level. This story has nothing to do with climbing Everest.

Re:Really bad explanation of the evolution. (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 4 months ago | (#47374731)

How long have the sherpas been up there carrying shit for rich European thrill seekers?

The Sherpas have been carrying shit for rich European thrill seekers since the early 1930s - say 3 generations. For the preceding 30-odd generations (and maybe considerably more) they've been living in the same regions carrying loads of fabrics and foodstuffs over the Himalayan ranges from the plains of India into Tibet during the early summer (after the winter snows melted), and then returning to the plains of India with loads of salt from the interior high-altitude deserts of Tibet to sell in India.

Oh, sorry, did I relieve your ignorance of the economies of interior Asia for the last (several) thousand years? My apologies - I'll let you continue in the dark in future.

It's not difficult to find these things out.

Neandertals and light skin (3, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 4 months ago | (#47374055)

There is another obvious point in history where such a gene transfer could have occurred. European conditions favour light skin, and Neandertals had been hanging out there for some tens of thousands of years before modern humans turned up and so had evolved light skin. These newcomers, having recent ancestry in Africa, were probably dark skinned. Interbreeding could easily have introduced the beneficial-to-European-conditions light skin mutations into the modern population.

My memory of the literature (which I have followed just a little bit, not closely) is that this did not happen - genetic analysis shows that modern Europeans and Neandertals acquired light skin through different mutations. However, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says this is still under debate.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374131)

The bulk of the Neanderthal gene material is focused on immunity related sections of the modern human. They likely gave us the means of survival in a foreign biosphere that was Europe.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (2)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 4 months ago | (#47374319)

Immune system genes are often under balancing selection - i.e. the rarest alleles are favoured (until, due to this favouring, they cease to be rarest, then other alleles are favoured.) An infusion of new different alleles from Neandertals could be favoured simply because they are different, not because they are evolved to European conditions.

Testing between these hypotheses seems difficult. The 'balancing selection' hypothesis predicts that the genes will readily spread back into Africa, whereas the 'evolved for European conditions' predicts they will not. The problem is that you need some neutral mutations that arose in Europe at the same time as a 'control' for comparison purposes. I'm not sure how to identify such mutations, but I expect it could be done.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374563)

There is another obvious point in history where such a gene transfer could have occurred. European conditions favour light skin, and Neandertals had been hanging out there for some tens of thousands of years before modern humans turned up and so had evolved light skin. These newcomers, having recent ancestry in Africa, were probably dark skinned. Interbreeding could easily have introduced the beneficial-to-European-conditions light skin mutations into the modern population.

My memory of the literature (which I have followed just a little bit, not closely) is that this did not happen - genetic analysis shows that modern Europeans and Neandertals acquired light skin through different mutations. However, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says this is still under debate.

It is worth noting that Asians, Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians also have this's DNA so it's probably better to say beneficial-to-cold-climate-conditions. It is also less likely to get one accused of bigotry since white supreme have (unfortunately) begun to use this as proof of their theories of European racial superiority.

Neandertals and light skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47375075)

Light skin is beneficial? Racist motherfucker.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47375381)

For vitamin D production, it is. For protection against sunburns, it isn't.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47376473)

Do you deny that being light-skinned increases the production of vitamin D in regions with less sun irradiation? This is as racist as it's sexist to say that you need a uterus to bear children.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47377447)

Sexist equivocator! All I need to bear children across the Himalayas is a willing Sherpa, it does not matter what gender the sherpa is, just that they can carry the child and any necessary kit for the child's survival.

Yes this post is intended to be a porq to the troll.

Re:Neandertals and light skin (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 4 months ago | (#47375795)

Interbreeding...My memory of the literature (which I have followed just a little bit, not closely) is that this did not happen

That used to be the accepted position because genetic lineage studies used to be done exclusively with Mitochondrial DNA [wikipedia.org] which is passed down only through the female line. What that showed was no interbreeding. In other words no female Neaderthal had any progeny in the gene pool for modern humans. The assumption always was that the mating patterns of males and females was enough alike that this alone is decisive.

However, we now have the capability to check Nuclear DNA [wikipedia.org] , which comes from both parents. This shows there is indeed a fair amount of Neanderthal material floating around our genome. Presumably this came only from matings of Cro-Magnon women and Neaderthal males.

Translation: Ancient Alien Visited; Left Seed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374103)

Von Dana Kihn had it right all along.

Re:Translation: Ancient Alien Visited; Left Seed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374597)

No. He didn't.

Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374123)

More ammunition for the Republicans to claim that another group of brown people isn't human. Of course, with our without evidence, their kind will still try to kill them.

Re:Great (0)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47374233)

More ammunition for the Republicans to claim that another group of brown people isn't human.

Ku-Klux-Klan were Democrats [politifact.com] , not Republicans.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374285)

The democrats of the day were the conservatives.

Re:Great (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47374431)

If you believe for one moment the KKK was ever or is still compromised of people who only identify with either of our nation's "favorite sports teams," you're severely in need of a bitchslap back into reality. How can you possibly be this stupid? Keep on supporting the status quo, you fucking idiot.

Re:Great (2)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 4 months ago | (#47375845)

The democrats of the day were the conservatives.

Really? Robert Byrd had been an "Exalted Cyclops" in the Ku Klux Klan, yet still he was a Democrat Senator until his death in 2010. Byrd was a liberal and a great favorite of the Democrats.

Apparently, in 1944, Byrd wrote a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo refusing to join the military because he might have to serve alongside “race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wild.”

Re:Great (2)

mcvos (645701) | about 4 months ago | (#47374865)

Ku-Klux-Klan were Democrats [politifact.com] , not Republicans.

They certainly were, until FDR and later LBJ wanted to turn the Democrats into the civil rights party, and distanced the party from the racist southern democrats, after which Nixon decided that the Republicans should appeal to those southern former-democrats in order to gain more votes, and the parties basically switched position on this issue.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374913)

51 of the 53 Dixicrats went back to the DNC, the GOP got 1 and a few years later got a second one. Notable ones sticking with the DNC are Robert Byrd, who personally ran a filibuster the Civil Rights act, and Al Gore Sr. Byrd was celebrated as a hero of the DNC a few years ago when he finally died.

So we have 96% of the racist Dixicrats going to the DNC, and 4% going to the GOP. In order to make your point you had to outright lie, but you just got called out on it.

Re:Great (1)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47375739)

Quote me Nixon or any other two prominent Republicans claiming anything remotely like "group of brown people isn't human". Put up or shut up, so to speak.

Re:Great (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | about 4 months ago | (#47376803)

That particular Democrat's full name was Lyndon "I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years" B Johnson.

And I quote.

Re:Great (0)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47374411)

Here we have a fine example of an "undocumented poster" (to use fashionable left wing terminology) making sweeping and emotionally charged bullshit statements about a political party which he or she believes to be an ideological rival of his or her "favorite sports team." I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

For reference, I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but I am fully in support of you going off to fuck yourself. Have a great day, you spineless little piece of shit.

Learn some history (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374429)

EVERY SINGLE SLAVE "OWNER" in the USA was a DEMOCRAT! Not even ONE Republican slave owner EVER existed in the USA.

EVERY SINGLE GOVERNOR who kept a black kid out of a "white" school was a DEMOCRAT

EVERY law that blocked a black person from a "white" drinking fountain or restroom in all of US history was put in place and enforced by DEMOCRATS

The US Federal Government was segregated by order of DEMOCRAT president Woodrow Wilson. Republican president Eisenhower de-segregated the federal government, pushed through the civil rights acts of 1957 and 1960, and EISENHOWER was the one who sent the federal troops into the south to force the democrats to let black kids into white schools.

Planned Parenthood was founded by Progressive Democrat Margaret Sanger for the sole purpose of eugenics (cleaning up the gene pool) by aborting as many black babies as possible.

The KKK was formed by DEMOCRATS and they listed both blacks and Republicans as their enemies in their propaganda

Gun control laws in the US were origninally advanced by Democrats to disarm black people, who had begun to arm themselves to defend themselves against the Democrats in the Klan; This was openly discussed in a Democrat national convention at the time. This is FACT. (SOME say the NRA was founded to help blacks in this situation - the evidence for that is inconclusive)

Of course, these FACTS always make liberal Democrats squirm, so they have a severely dishonest "talking point" to try to fool the ignorant: They usually say "well, THAT was before all those bad Democrats became Republicans {mumble, mumble,mumble} Nixon Southern Strategy!!!". This works as a ruse to distract the simple-minded but it is insanely illogical. When LBJ was trying to pass his civil rights bill, it was REPUBLICAN votes in congress that put the bill over the line and got it passed.... and today's liberal democrats want people to believe that those hate-filled racist southern Democrats lashed-out in response by ... joining the very political party that just forced black people onto them!?!?!? Sorry, logic FAIL. The decent, religious and/or patriotic southerners switched parties in the late sixties in reponse to the cultural meltdown of the Democrat party that was turning into the part of "flag-burners", "hippies" and drug-users. The nasty racist Democrats stayed in their party and simply switched tactics.... they pushed policies of putting blacks into poverty plantations (subsisized housing projects) where they could be controlled and kept down (the rules kicked people out of their homes if their income rose too much, but with a threshold too low to survive without a susbidy - a despicable TRAP designed to keep black Americans poor). Have you ever READ or listened to the evil racist rants of LBJ???? The man HATED black people; he used "the n-word" more times per hour than Samuel Jackson swears in a typical movie.

DEMOCRATS are and have ALWAYS been the party that puts people into racial categories and then makes decisions about them based on which group they are in... the tickets to all Democrat presidential conventions are ALLOCATED by RACE (so they look "inclusive" on TV). The Republicans are and have ALWAYS been the party philosophically committed to the argument that judging people by skin color is ALWAYS wrong and that NO law should work for or against a person based on skin color.

Well, that proves it! (0)

American Patent Guy (653432) | about 4 months ago | (#47374151)

After all, if a story about interbreeding, genetics and extinction of humans appears on Slashdot, then it has to be true......

Re:Well, that proves it! (2)

itzly (3699663) | about 4 months ago | (#47374237)

Only if accompanied by a suitable number of witty comments.

Were Denisovans really a DIFFERENT SPECIES? (2)

mi (197448) | about 4 months ago | (#47374229)

inherited from an ancient species of human

One of the definitions of "species" states, that if two can breed and produce viable offspring (unlike, say, donkey and horse or lion and tiger, which produce sterile hybrids), then they are the same species...

Why are Denisovans considered different species, rather than simply a different race (or breed?) of the same Homo Sapiens?

Re:Were Denisovans really a DIFFERENT SPECIES? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47374297)

Perhaps the viability rate of the offspring of cross-breeds is low. "Viability" is not necessarily a Boolean value. As two groups drift apart genetically, the success rate of mating gradually goes down. I'm not sure the definition requires 0.00000...% viability. But, most biologists don't get pedantic of over such and accept fuzzy boundaries of many concepts (until somebody sues over paternity or something).

Dangerous science (1)

Ilarih (3525771) | about 4 months ago | (#47374549)

Well, I really think it should be race, even writing about different species might be dangerous. That could be really intresting but topic is a tabu.

The only safe route is to wrote that all people all almost same. In fact it would be intresting if people from really different race has problems get babies. But I fear event that is a bit dangerous subject. Only thing that I know for sure it that living as really diffent people is hard, that might have some effect.

Re:Dangerous science (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | about 4 months ago | (#47375133)

Yes, let's censor science because somebody might get offended.

Re:Dangerous science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47376871)

I can assure you that it's not problematic at all for two humans of differing skin tone to have offspring. You say you find the topic very interesting, so I suggest you try it out for yourself.

Re:Were Denisovans really a DIFFERENT SPECIES? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374299)

inherited from an ancient species of human

One of the definitions of "species" states, that if two can breed and produce viable offspring (unlike, say, donkey and horse or lion and tiger, which produce sterile hybrids), then they are the same species...

Why are Denisovans considered different species, rather than simply a different race (or breed?) of the same Homo Sapiens?

I have to admit that I am no zoologist. All the info I have I got from online sources

Some time ago I did some digging on the horse + donkey / lion+tiger interbreeding thing, while most of the offspring are sterile, there were some cases that the resulted offspring that were not sterile !

I guess that could be happening to the sapien + denisovan interbreeding program as well - with most offsprings sterile, but those which were not, went ahead and produce _their_ own offspring

Re:Were Denisovans really a DIFFERENT SPECIES? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47375073)

Except that it is not.

A lot of different species can interbreed, and a lot of animals in the same species cannot.

There are a huge varieties of dog breeds, many cannot viably mate unless through intermediate dog breeds.
Loads of birds rely of feather patterns to keep them uninterested why being perfect genetic matches for interbreeding.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that humans could interbreed with other great apes. We have done it in the past, hundreds of thousands of years ago, and some scientists have stated that there is a decent chance that it would work (the Nazi's got increadibly close to trying).

And yet I think all of these categorizations are correct. Dogs are all quite related and since there is a range there is no anyway sensible cutting point. They have to be the same species or we need a new word to call it. The birds do not naturally interbreed, the is the whole point of the feathers. And just because many of the great apes can interbreed does not make them one giant species.

At the end of the day "species" is a layman term and is used loosely and with great flexibility.

Re:Were Denisovans really a DIFFERENT SPECIES? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47375121)

There are a huge varieties of dog breeds, many cannot viably mate unless through intermediate dog breeds.

Clearly you've never seen a chihuahua humping everything in sight. Sure, the male has to be smaller, but it only takes one spermatozoa.

Re:Were Denisovans really a DIFFERENT SPECIES? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47376703)

Because that's just one of a number of conflicting definitions of "species". We don't call lions and tigers the same species either. Look up "species problem". It's not well defined what a species is exactly, it's just a construct we use to classify organisms. It still works because species are defined by scientific consensus, and once a species is named and described it's mostly clear whether an individual belongs to it. But there's not much essence to it. Btw some anthropologists speak of H. sapiens ssp. denisova.

"Extinct"? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47374253)

If they bred with humans, technically they didn't go extinct: their genes live on, at least some of them. "Extinct" is perhaps not a Boolean value.

Master Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374263)

Now we just need to cross breed Kenyan and Tibetan and we got ourselves a WINNER

Make Love, Not War: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47374277)

"Modern humans didn't wait for new mutations to adapt to a new environment," he says. "They could pick up adaptive traits by interbreeding."

Basic questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374349)

1. Did they study this gene and all the systems of the human body that use genes to fully understand COMPLETELY and EXACTLY how it operates? In other words: Do they ACTUALLY KNOW what this gene does and all the side-effects its presence conveys with such certainty that if they had been given a sample of DNA with theis gene in it they could have worked from the other direction and said "Ah, the 'high altitude' gene...did this sample come from a Tibetan?" ----- Or is this yet another case of bioscience guys finding a statistical correlation between a gene and a particular human trait and then RUNNING to publish a paper, patent a gene, and start seeking more research money or investors?

2. Where's the proof that this is an abnormal trait inherited (like some sort of lotto win) by the Tibetans from ancient humans rather than being something lots of people had, but which most of our ancestors "lost". In other words: VERY few humans and ancient human ancestors died and got buried in ways that left remains for modern people to dig-up and study (some of our most famous evolutionary "links" are a half-dozen bone fragments... "Lucy" [wikipedia.org] is about as famous as they get and is only 40% of ONE skeleton), so we're on REALLY "thin ground" here to play statistical games ---- where's the proof this was an additive "thing" rather than a subtractive one?

Re:Basic questions (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 4 months ago | (#47375135)

1. Is a sleight that's not worthy of a reply. Just a glance at TFA shows how much research went into it. And you think you can wave it away without any evidence.

2. Solve it by a process called thinking. Try this: Humans are spread all over the planet (Africa etc.). They'd all have to lose that very gene, except the Tibetans. Odds of that? Probably in the same order of magnitude as the likelihood that a person making statements of this caliber is convinced by reason.

Bert

But, but... 'Race is a social construct'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374433)

LOL.

haka sherpa sherpa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47374477)

abakallah!

So you're saying Tibetans are different? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47375061)

But the Jew professors in college told me race is a "social construct" and that a German and a Nigerian are the same even though Germans have as much as 5% Neanderthal DNA and the Nigerian as 0%.

Mars Colonist Candidates??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47377471)

Maybe their not alien, but they could be if they wanted.

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