Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do most caucasian homo sapiens have some Neanderthal DNA?

  1. Jan 10, 2018 #1
    I just received the results from the DNA tests that I ordered at 23andme.com. According to 23andme, I have 298 Neanderthal variants in my DNA. 23andme says that I have more Neanderthal DNA in my genes than 80% of 23andme customers. This has really gotten me thinking about Neanderthal DNA, and it has raised some questions in my mind.

    The Neanderthals lived in Europe. Therefore, people of European descent are far more likely to have Neanderthal DNA in their genes than people not of European descent. I believe that if all of a person's ancestors were from, say, Africa, then such a person would have no Neanderthal DNA in their genes at all. I don't think that the Neanderthals lived in Africa, Asia, Australia, or the Americas.

    Do most Caucasian homo sapiens have some Neanderthal DNA in their genes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2018 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2017 Award

    Essentially all populations, except those native to sub-Saharan Africa, have some small fraction of Neanderthal DNA in their genome:

    An X-Linked Haplotype of Neandertal Origin Is Present Among All Non-African Populations

    See also: http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/12/the-age-of-neanderthal-personal-genomics-begins.html
  4. Jan 10, 2018 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The story goes that people (Homo Sapiens) migrating out of Africa in countered Neanderthals (H. neanderthalansis) in the Mid-East area, as well as Europe and Asia. Interbreeding occurred and some of Neanderthal DNA still remains in the genomes of the descendants of these people.
    Similarly, some of these migrating people also encountered Denisovans (H. sapiens ssp. denisova), interbred with them and some of their DNA was acquired and passed on to their descendants. The Denisovans were more to the east, and interacted with different but overlapping groups of people.
    Some people carry DNA from both groups.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted