Neandertal genes point to interbreeding, inbreeding

Ancient DNA illuminates extinct hominid’s ties to humans, Denisovans

By Bruce Bower, 11:19 AM December 18, 2013

A high-quality chunk of DNA extracted from a Neandertal woman’s roughly 50,000-year-old toe bone has sharpened scientists’ view of genetic ties among Stone Age humans and their nearest, now-extinct relatives. The Neandertal fossil comes from a Siberian cave that also yielded a DNA-bearing finger bone from the Denisovans, close genetic relatives of Neandertals.

Neandertals contributed around 2 percent of the DNA carried by non-African people today, a team led by paleogeneticist Kay Prüfer of t...

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