Archaic admixture in the human genome

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Dec;16(6):606-10. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2006.09.006. Epub 2006 Oct 5.


One of the enduring questions in the evolution of our species surrounds the fate of 'archaic' forms of Homo. Did Neanderthals go extinct without interbreeding with modern humans 25-40 thousand years ago or are their genes present among modern-day Europeans? Recent work suggests that Neanderthals and an as yet unidentified archaic African population contributed to at least 5% of the modern European and West African gene pools, respectively. Extensive sequencing of Neanderthal and other archaic human nuclear DNA has the potential to answer this question definitively within the next few years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthropology, Physical
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Hominidae / genetics*
  • Humans