Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Neanderthals stopped modern humans from being wiped out by flu

Modern humans and Neanderthals Credit Claire Scully
Gustavo Carr | 06 October, 2018, 20:53

It's not anymore a secret that the ancient people interbreed, and even co-lived with Neanderthals as the scientists have already established that modern-day human DNA contains traces of the Neanderthals genome.

Petrov and Enard said their findings are consistent with a "poison-antidote" model of gene swapping between two species. They then checked his list against a database of sequenced Neanderthal DNA and identified 152 fragments of those genes from modern humans that were also present in Neanderthals.

Human evolution used to be depicted as a straight line, gradually progressing from an ape-like ancestor to modern Homo sapiens.

At the point when analysts contrasted the 4,000 qualities and the Neanderthal genome, they found critical proof of quality stream between the two species.

"Modern humans and Neanderthals are so closely related that it really wasn't much of a genetic barrier for these viruses to jump", said Enard, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Arizona in the US. According to estimates, numerous inhabitants of Europe and Asia retain from one to 4% Neanderthal DNA in their genomes. "By interbreeding with each other, they also passed along genetic adaptations to cope with some of those pathogens". Arriving in Eurasia, they met the Neanderthals who were already adapted to those geographical areas. The flu virus can, for example, be treated as "key" to "lock" the protein of the cell surface, causing the human cell to let him in. The article with the conclusions published in the scientific journal Cell.

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The researchers also noticed that some genes of Neanderthals across modern humans more than others. "That's called positive natural selection-it favors certain individuals that carry these advantageous mutations". A team of researchers from Stanford University have proved this idea. Earlier this year, researchers analyzed 7,000 years of the virus is found in human teeth of the Neolithic period. Viruses evolve to interact with proteins of the cells they infect. The new work built on those findings looked at which of those adaptations may have come from Neanderthals.

In the study, the researchers gathered a large dataset of several thousand proteins that interact with viruses in modern humans. From this, Enard and Petrov concluded that these genes helped our ancestors fend off ancient RNA viruses that they encountered upon leaving Africa. Those sequences are publicly available to investigators in the field.

Stanford scientists have now found compelling evidence for the latter.

"Many Neanderthal sequences have been lost in modern humans, but some stayed and appear to have quickly increased to high frequencies at the time of contact, suggestive of their selective benefits at that time", Petrov said. "Our research aims to understand why that was the case". Luckily for us, the VIP genes remained intact helping people tackle some specific RNA viruses. Viral DNA itself is effectively corrupted, however, the hereditary transformations they motivated can be recognized in the genomes of antiquated populaces. "This study suggests that one of the roles of those genes was to provide us with some protection against pathogens as we moved into new environments". Now, a new genetic survey has revealed gene flow between humans and Neanderthals was mediated by viral transmissions. This could potentially inform better ways to monitor for and treat future epidemics.