Humans Have DNA from an Ancient and Unidentified Ancestor

The human DNA is perhaps the most majestic and miraculous piece of creation in the entire Universe. All the DNA from our cells put together would measure about twice the diameter of our Solar System. DNA is practically the set of instructions for how to create an individual, and this obviously requires infinitely more intelligence than any of us will ever have.

Whether we like it or not, scientists still have a lot more to learn about human DNA. One recent proof is the analysis of ancient genomes made by scientists from the Cornell University and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Different branches from the human family tree interbred multiple times

This is the idea that the new study suggests. If it’s true, it means that some humans carry DNA from an ancient and unknown ancestor.

The scientists had developed an algorithm for analyzing genomes that are able to identify segments of DNA that come from other species. The algorithm was used to look at genomes belonging to two Neanderthals, two African humans, and a Denisovan. There’s strong hint that 3 percent of the Neanderthal genome came from an ancient human.

Adam Siepel, the author of the study, declared:

What I think is exciting about this work is that it demonstrates what you can learn about deep human history by jointly reconstructing the full evolutionary history of a collection of sequences from both modern humans and archaic hominins,

This new algorithm that Melissa has developed, ARGweaver-D, is able to reach back further in time than any other computational method I’ve seen. It seems to be especially powerful for detecting ancient introgression.

The findings were reported in a study published recently in PLOS Genetics. The names involved in the study are Melissa Hubisz, Amy Williams, and Adam Siepel.

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Cristian Antonescu

About the Author: Cristian Antonescu

With a strong passion for astronomy since he was little and hundreds of articles written about this field, Cristian is a reliable writer who keeps the website up-to-date with news about the wonders of the Universe.

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