Menu

Homo Sapiens Interbred With Denisovans From Two Different Populations

Researchers find that modern human populations carry distinct sets of genes from the extinct hominin species.

Mar 16, 2018
Shawna Williams

A replica of a Denisovan finger bone fragment found in a cave in 2008WIKIMEDIA, THILO PARGDenisovans, an ancient hominin species long unknown to science, have yielded another of their secrets: At least two genetically-distinct populations of the species interbred with Homo sapiens, according to a genomics analysis published yesterday (March 15) in Cell.

“This is a breakthrough paper,” David Reich, who studies ancient DNA at Harvard University and did not participate in the study, tells The Washington Post. “It's a definite third interbreeding event,” adding to previously known Denisovan and Neanderthal mixtures, he says.

See “Denisovan DNA Reveals Human Roots

Denisovans were discovered when a few bones and a tooth from a member of the species were found in a Siberian cave in 2008. Reich and his colleagues later sequenced the DNA found in the bones, compared it to the genomes of other ancient and modern humans, and reported that it belonged to a species distinct from modern humans or Neanderthals. That study also revealed that about 5 percent of the genomes of modern Melanesians, people from the islands of Oceania, derives from Denisovans.

See “Borrowing Immunity Through Interbreeding

For the new study, researchers led by Sharon Browning of the University of Washington compared the genomes of 5,639 modern people from different populations to one another and to the Denisovan DNA collected from tiny bones. Their analysis revealed that some DNA sequences in the genomes of people from China and Japan were closer matches to the Denisovan genome than were sequences from Melanesians, although the proportion of Denisovan DNA in the East Asians was smaller.

“[I]n this new work with East Asians, we find a second set of Denisovan ancestry that we do not find in the South Asians and Papuans," Browning says in a statement. "This Denisovan ancestry in East Asians seems to be something they acquired themselves." She suggests that the ancestors of Oceanians may have interbred with a group of Denisovans in southern Asia, while the ancestors of East Asians may have encountered a different group further north.

Methods similar to those used in this study will likely reveal additional episodes of interbreeding between ancient hominin groups, Reich tells the Post. “I am sure there are others.”

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced the launch of two new chromatography media for process protein purification: CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin.