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Modern humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans coexisted and interbred, and its mixture is still present in our DNA.
Since the Denisovan genome was analyzed in 2010 - with the few fossil pieces found: a phalanx and two molars - it has been known that some populations in Oceania, such as the Papuans, indigenous people from New Guinea and nearby islands, share up to a 5% of your DNA with those humans.
This means that a cross between modern humans and Denisovans occurred, which even marked the genome of East and South Asian populations, which contains 0.2% Denisovan DNA today. Scientists have assumed that the Denisovan ancestry of modern Asians was due to the migrations of populations from Oceania.
A study now published in the journal Cell has focused on the genetic inheritance of these peoples thanks to a new analysis method based on information from the UK10K, 1000 Genomes and Simons Genome Diversity projects.
The results show that the current DNA of East Asians like the Chinese Han and Dai ethnic groups and the Japanese,contain Denisovan DNA thanks to a second crossing different from that of the peoples of Oceania.
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"In this new work with East Asians we found a second set of Denisovan ancestry that is not in South Asians and Papuans," says Sharon Browning, lead author of the work and researcher at the University of Washington (USA).
"This Denisovan ancestor in East Asians seems to be something that they acquired themselves," adds the researcher.
The team of scientists analyzed 5,639 whole genome sequences from individuals from Europe, Asia, America and Oceania and compared them to the Denisovan genome. Thus the researchers were able to determine that the genome of these archaic humans who could live up to 40,000 years ago it is more closely related to the modern East Asian population than it is to modern Papuans.
According to experts, the genomes of the two groups of modern humans with Denisovan ancestors - individuals from Oceania and those from East Asia - are uniquely different, indicating that there were two separate episodes of mixing with those archaic humans: one from a town near the Altai Mountains in Siberia - where the remains of Denisovans were found - and another further away.
“The two mixed populations of Denisovans were genetically distinct, suggesting that they were geographically separate. It may be that the ancestors of the East Asians encountered a group of Denisovans who lived in central or eastern Asia, while the oceanic ones met Denisovans who lived in South or Southeast Asia ”, the researcher details .
The aim of the researchers is find evidence of other crosses with other archaic humans. To do this, they will analyze populations from around the world, including Native Americans and Africans to complete the picture of human demographic history. "Studies like this show that human demographic history was complex," concludes Browning.
Via SINC Agency
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