Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Europeans have three times more Neanderthal genes for lipid catabolism than Asians or Africans

Date:
April 2, 2014
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Contemporary Europeans have as many as three times more Neanderthal variants in genes involved in lipid catabolism than Asians and Africans. Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in modern humans. These shared regions are unevenly distributed across the genome and some regions are particularly enriched with Neanderthal variants.

Contemporary Europeans have as many as three times more Neanderthal variants in genes involved in lipid catabolism than Asians and Africans.
Credit: Skeleton of a neanderthal (left) and a modern human (right). Ian Tattersall

Contemporary Europeans have as many as three times more Neanderthal variants in genes involved in lipid catabolism than Asians and Africans.

Related Articles


Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in modern humans. These shared regions are unevenly distributed across the genome and some regions are particularly enriched with Neanderthal variants. An international team of researchers led by Philipp Khaitovich of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai, China, show that DNA sequences shared between modern humans and Neanderthals are specifically enriched in genes involved in the metabolic breakdown of lipids. This sharing of genes is seen mainly in contemporary humans of European descent and may have given a selective advantage to the individuals with the Neanderthal variants.

The researchers analyzed the distribution of Neanderthal variants in the genomes of eleven contemporary human populations of African, Asian and European descent. They found that genes involved in the lipid synthesis contained a particularly high number of Neanderthal variants in contemporary humans of European origin, but not in Asians and Africans.

"These sequences show signs of recent positive selection," says Philipp Khaitovich of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai, China. "This may indicate that they give modern humans carrying the Neanderthal genotype a selective advantage."

Analyzing the influence of Neanderthal variants on lipid processing in modern humans, the researchers further found recent evolutionary changes in lipid concentration and expression of metabolic enzymes in brains of humans of European origin.

"We don't know what these lipid concentration changes do to the brain, but the fact that Neanderthal variants might have changed our brain composition has interesting implications," says Philipp Khaitovich. Further work is needed, however, in order to fully assess the potential functional effects of these changes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ekaterina E. Khrameeva, Katarzyna Bozek, Liu He, Zheng Yan, Xi Jiang, Yuning Wei, Kun Tang, Mikhail S. Gelfand, Kay Prufer, Janet Kelso, Svante Paabo, Patrick Giavalisco, Michael Lachmann, Philipp Khaitovich. Neanderthal ancestry drives evolution of lipid catabolism in contemporary Europeans. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4584

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Europeans have three times more Neanderthal genes for lipid catabolism than Asians or Africans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402100056.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2014, April 2). Europeans have three times more Neanderthal genes for lipid catabolism than Asians or Africans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402100056.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Europeans have three times more Neanderthal genes for lipid catabolism than Asians or Africans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402100056.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins