Sunday, December 14, 2008

Neandertal Genome: Halfway There!

New Kerala is reporting out of London that the Neandertal genome has been halfway sequenced. The team, from the Max Planck Insitute in Leipzig, has some preliminary findings:

Preliminary results suggest that Neanderthals were lactose intolerant, hardly surprising since the ability to digest dairy products in adulthood only became common in humans after the domestication of cows, 10,000 years ago.

Neanderthals also seem to lack a mutation associated with increased fertility, identified in Icelanders. A 2005 paper suggested that this mutation had entered humans through inbreeding with Neanderthals.

They are quick to state that this is nothing more than a first draft, though. Still, it is great to have this kind of information. Cherished theories may fall by the wayside.

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