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Humans and Neandertals may not have interbred, after all, the backlash of selfishness and more in this week's news

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11:24am, September 5, 2011

No Neandertal hanky-panky
New mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that Neandertals didn’t occasionally interbreed with Stone Age humans, as proposed in a recent study of Neandertal nuclear DNA, say evolutionary biologist Guido Barbujani of the University of Ferrara in Italy and his colleagues. Barbujani’s team analyzed maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA from European Neandertals, Stone Age Europeans and living Europeans. If nuclear DNA lines leading to Neandertals and Europeans are older than corresponding mitochondrial DNA lines, then a long period of shared ancestry could explain why Neandertals and today’s Europeans share some nuclear DNA, the researchers propose online August 24 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. —Bruce Bower

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