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Almost 20 years of Neanderthal palaeogenetics: Adaptation, admixture, diversity, demography and extinction

AuthorsSánchez-Quinto, Federico ; Lalueza-Fox, Carles
Evolutionary history
Issue DateApr-2015
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationPhilosophical Transactions - B - Biological Sciences 370(1665): (2015)
AbstractNearly two decades since the first retrieval of Neanderthal DNA, recent advances in next-generation sequencing technologies have allowed the generation of high-coverage genomes from two archaic hominins, a Neanderthal and a Denisovan, as well as a complete mitochondrial genome from remains which probably represent early members of the Neanderthal lineage. This genomic information, coupled with diversity exome data from several Neanderthal specimens is shedding new light on evolutionary processes such as the genetic basis of Neanderthal and modern human-specific adaptations—including morphological and behavioural traits—as well as the extent and nature of the admixture events between them. An emerging picture is that Neanderthals had a long-term small population size, lived in small and isolated groups and probably practised inbreeding at times. Deleterious genetic effects associated with these demographic factors could have played a role in their extinction. The analysis of DNA from further remains making use of new large-scale hybridization-capture-based methods as well as of new approaches to discriminate contaminant DNA sequences will provide genetic information in spatial and temporal scales that could help clarify the Neanderthal's—and our very own—evolutionary history.© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0374
Identifiersdoi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0374
e-issn: 1471-2970
issn: 0962-8436
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