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Gene test probes Neandertal origins

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12:55pm, February 3, 2003

A technique for discerning the similarity of DNA specimens supports earlier genetic evidence that Neandertals were a dead-end species, a new study finds.

Neandertal DNA exhibits substantial genetic differences from the DNA of both ancient Homo sapiens and modern humans, reports a team led by Lutz Bachmann of the Field Museum in Chicago.

"These data support the hypothesis that Neandertals were not ancestors of anatomically modern [humans]," the scientists assert in the June American Journal of Human Genetics.

Bachmann's team examined DNA from Neandertal fossils from between 110,000 and 50,000 years ago and a H. sapiens fossil from about 35,000 years ago.

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