Using pill-sized samples of bone powder from three Neandertalbones, a global team of scientists including Svante Pääbo, RichardE. Green, and Hernán Burbano has sequenced the Neandertal
Comparing the Neandertal genome with the genomes of fivepresent-day humans, the researchers uncovered a variety of genesthat are unique to humans, including a handful that spread rapidlyamong our species after humans and Neandertals split from a commonancestor. These significant findings may, in fact, hold the key tounderstanding our human identity.
Neandertals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-dayhumans, lived in large parts of Europe and western Asiabefore disappearing 30,000 years ago. We present a draftsequence of the Neandertal genome composed of more than4 billion nucleotides from three individuals.Comparisons of the Neandertal genome to the genomes offive present-day humans from different parts of theworld identify a number of genomic regions that may havebeen affected by positive selection in ancestral modernhumans, including genes involved in metabolism and incognitive and skeletal development.
We show that Neandertals shared more genetic variantswith present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-dayhumans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flowfrom Neandertals into the ancestors of non-Africansoccurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups fromeach other.