Friday, December 20, 2013

Toe Fossil Provides Complete Neanderthal Genome. By Carl Zimmer.

Top Fossil Provides Complete Neanderthal Genome. By Carl Zimmer. New York Times, December 18, 2013.

Archaic humans: Four makes a party. By Ewan Birney and Jonathan K. Pritchard. Nature, published online, December 18, 2013.

The complete genome sequence of Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains. By Kay PrĂ¼fer et al. Nature, published online, December 18, 2013.


We present a high-quality genome sequence of a Neanderthal woman from Siberia. We show that her parents were related at the level of half-siblings and that mating among close relatives was common among her recent ancestors. We also sequenced the genome of a Neanderthal from the Caucasus to low coverage. An analysis of the relationships and population history of available archaic genomes and 25 present-day human genomes shows that several gene flow events occurred among Neanderthals, Denisovans and early modern humans, possibly including gene flow into Denisovans from an unknown archaic group. Thus, interbreeding, albeit of low magnitude, occurred among many hominin groups in the Late Pleistocene. In addition, the high-quality Neanderthal genome allows us to establish a definitive list of substitutions that became fixed in modern humans after their separation from the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

A possible model of gene flow events in the Late Pleistocene. The direction and estimated magnitude of inferred gene flow events are shown. Branch lengths and timing of gene flows are not drawn to scale. The dashed line indicates that it is uncertain if Denisovan gene flow into modern humans in mainland Asia occurred directly or via Oceania. D.I. denotes the introgressing Denisovan, N.I. the introgressing Neanderthal. Note that the age of the archaic genomes precludes detection of gene-flow from modern humans into the archaic hominins.