The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)


Neanderthal and Denisova genetic affinities with contemporary humans

ROBERT K. LOWERY1, GABRIEL URIBE2, ERIC B. JIMENEZ3, MARK A. WEISS4, KRISTIAN J. HERRERA5, BRIAN C. RICHARDSON1, MANUELA REGUEIRO6 and RENE J. HERRERA7.

1Biological Sciences, Indian River State College, 2Department of Computer Science, University of British Colunbia, 3Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Wake Forest University, 4Department of Computing and Information Sciences, Florida International University, 5Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, 6Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Florida International University, 7Department of Biology, Colorado College

March 26, 2015 1:30, Lindbergh Add to calendar

Analyses of the genetic relationships and interactions among modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans have suggested that 1-4% of the non-Sub-Saharan African gene pool may be Neanderthal derived, while 6-8% of the Melanesian gene pool may be the product of admixture between the Denisovans and the direct ancestors of Melanesians. In the present study, we utilize genetic structure analysis to examine the relationships among a worldwide collection of contemporary humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Pan troglodytes. The unique advantage of structure analysis is that it uses allelic frequency trends among populations to find remnants of gene pools, which contributed to these populations in the past. To accomplish this we use 37,758 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), conducting separate examinations of subsets of mutations with higher probabilities of divergent phylogenetic origins. We additionally include common ancestral SNPs in our analyses to more accurately visualize potential gene flow. Our results indicate that 3.6% of the Neanderthal genome is shared with roughly 65.3% of the average European gene pool, which clinally diminishes with distance from Europe. This may be alternatively reflect an unprecedented level of highly regionalized admixture, or common ancestry influenced by genetic drift. However, the genetic affinities observed between Denisovans and Melanesians appear to result from the retention of ancient mutations in these populations.