News from DCEXS-UPF
A new international study led by David Comas, principal investigator at UPF and at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF), demonstrates for the first time using artificial intelligence that African populations hybridized with other extinct humans.
Until now it was known that some extinct populations, such as Neanderthals or Denisovans, had mixed with modern humans outside Africa. However, in African populations no crossbreeding had been consistently demonstrated. Now, they have identified the introgression of an extinct line of humans in the DNA of present-day African populations. "This totally unknown archaic population mixed with the ancestors of Africans and their genes have been conserved in their genome until the present", explains David Comas.
The researchers have conducted a study of modern genomes of different populations with a broad diversity of lifestyles, languages or geography in the African continent. By sequencing these current genomes they have demonstrated that some of them come from introgression.
Belén Lorente-Galdos, one of the first signatories of the article, concludes "our method has enabled clearly ruling out the prevalent model does that does not consider archaic introgression in Africa. The new model we present has forced us, furthermore, to review the amount of DNA in people of Eurasian origin that comes from Neanderthals, which could be up to three times higher than had been estimated to date using the previous models".
Lorente-Galdos B, Lao O, Serra-Vidal G, Santpere G, Kuderna LFK, Arauna LR, Fadhlaoui-Zid K, Pimenoff VN, Soodyall H, Zalloua P, Marques-Bonet T, Comas D. Whole-genome sequence analysis of a Pan African set of samples reveals archaic gene flow from an extinct basal population of modern humans into sub-Saharan populations. Genome Biology, April 2019. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1684-5.