Beneficial liaisons

Beneficial liaisons

Modern populations acquired important immune system DNA from ancient, cross-species breeding

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 09:53 AM August 25, 2011

Sleeping around can expose you to diseases, but, at least in the course of human evolution, it may help you fight ’em. New research suggests that thousands of years ago humans acquired important immune system genes via liaisons with some of our extinct hominid cousins, the Neandertals and Denisovans. These dalliances may have allowed modern humans to persist in regions where unfamiliar pathogens may have otherwise killed them.

Many modern human populations appear to have the same versions o...

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