Ginning up dangers of Neanderthal genes
|February 26, 2016||Posted by News under Human evolution, News|
From New Scientist:
Tony Capra at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his colleagues studied an anonymised database containing medical records and genetic data from more than 28,000 people of European descent. Europeans retain some Neanderthal DNA, though the amount and the exact parts they have vary between individuals.
They used information from the Neanderthal genome to identify segments of Neanderthal DNA in each person’s genetic data. Then they explored whether particular chunks of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes were associated with a variety of specific medical conditions.
They found that certain Neanderthal segments come with a small but significant health risk: people carrying them are about 2 per cent more likely to develop depression and 1.4 per cent likely to have a heart attack than people who lack them.
But are 2% and 1.4% statistically significant increased risks? Wouldn’t we expect at least around 5%, to notice? What are we missing here?
As well, a large proportion of people with a higher proportion of Neanderthal ancestry live in northern environments where, say, alcoholism and depression correlate reliably with long, dreary winters.
Here’s the study.
See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents
A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?
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