Tibetans live high life thanks to extinct human relatives

Modern people’s DNA adaptation to altitude passed down from ancient Denisovans

By Tina Hesman Saey, 12:25 PM July 2, 2014

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 extinc...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/tibetans-live-high-life-thanks-extinct-human-relatives?mode=topic&context=87