Modern people’s DNA adaptation to altitude passed down from ancient Denisovans
Tibetans inherited a genetic adaptation to high altitudes from an extinct group of human relatives called Denisovans, a new study finds.
Researchers have known for years that Tibetans carry a genetic variant in the EPAS1 gene that allows them to survive at extreme altitudes where oxygen is scarce. But how that variant arose has been mysterious. Now researchers report July 2 in Nature that the high-altitude version of EPAS1 almost certainly came from Denisovans or from a related group of extinct humans.