mike wrote:In addition to telling me I was E4/E4, 23andMe said I had above average (2+ %) Neanderthal DNA and it got me to thinking. The E4 variant appeared some 220,000 years ago. At that point, Neanderthal had already broken off from modern man and left for Europe. It could be that in Africa at that time, man had discovered how to cook tubers, and the E3 variant came about, allowing man to access carbs year round. Then when man again came out of Africa, they came with the ability to better utilize carbs than the Neanderthal. A new and likely more available food source during harsh winters. A huge advantage.
I think you were one of the folks whose posts on Friday got lost in the ether when our forum's server company had an inadvertent data deletion. Here's a link to Julie G's explanation if you're interested https://www.apoe4.info/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&p=59286#p59286
. Thank you for taking the time to re-post. I had seen this Friday, and hadn't had a chance to respond. Great question and fascinating topics!
Like you, I have a decent amount of Neanderthal DNA, 313 variants or a little less than 4% of my total DNA. My ApoE 3/3 husband has 315 Neanderthal variants more than 95% of 23&me users, and our daughter has more than 98% of 23& me users (and does not look at all like a Neanderthal!)
Although we were all taught that the Neandearthals were a completely different type of human (and assumed they were inferior), recent fascinating research has re-created both Neanderthal DNA and that of another ancient human group called the Denisovans, whose ancestral DNA can be found in some people in areas such as Papua New Guinea. Caves have been found with a Neanderthal burial of an old individual who had an old, serious injury and would have been cared for, and whose grave had flowers brought from a distance. It's possible that our ancestors in fact had a skillful knowledge of how to use local plants and animals for food sources to survive the winters. (You can see a re-creation of it at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.)
Here's a brief excerpt from an article in the Guardian about a well-respected researcher, David Reich, who along with others has developed techniques that have upended thinking about our family "tree": [emphasis added]David Reich: ‘Neanderthals were perhaps capable of many modern human behaviours’
Reich's... tests succeeded and subsequently showed, to everyone’s surprise, that many modern humans carry small amounts of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes. “Non-African genomes today are around 1.5 to 2.1% Neanderthal in origin,” he says.
So yes, Homo sapiens and Neanderthals had a common ancestor, about 500,000 years ago, before the former evolved as a separate species – in Africa – and the latter as a different species in Europe. Then around 70,000 years ago, when modern humans emerged from Africa, we encountered the Neanderthals, most probably in the Middle East. We briefly mixed and interbred with them before we continued our slow diaspora across the planet.
In doing so, those early planetary settlers carried Neanderthal DNA with them as they spread out over the world’s four quarters. Hence its presence in all those of non-African origin. By contrast, Neanderthal DNA is absent in people of African origins because they remained in our species’s homeland.
Reich has since established that such interbreeding may have occurred on more than one occasion. More importantly, his studies show that “Neanderthals must have been more like us than we had imagined, perhaps capable of many behaviours that we typically associate with modern humans”. They would, most likely, have had language, culture and sophisticated behaviours. Hence the mutual attraction.
That itself is intriguing. However, there is another key implication of Reich’s work. Previously, it had been commonplace to view human populations arising from ancestral groupings like the trunk of a great tree....Reich believes ... that the standard tree model of populations is basically wrong. Throughout our prehistory, populations have split, reformed, moved on, remixed and interbred and then moved on again...“There was never a single trunk population in the human past. It has been mixtures all the way down.” Instead of a tree, a better metaphor would be a trellis, branching and remixing far back into the past, says Reich.
As for me, I appreciate that nature likes some variety, and hope that we can find ways to control the occasional glitch in the programming!