November 18, 2015

Two more Denisovans (Sawyer, Renaud et al. 2015)

PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1519905112

Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences from two Denisovan individuals

Susanna Sawyer, Gabriel Renaud et al.

Denisovans, a sister group of Neandertals, have been described on the basis of a nuclear genome sequence from a finger phalanx (Denisova 3) found in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains. The only other Denisovan specimen described to date is a molar (Denisova 4) found at the same site. This tooth carries a mtDNA sequence similar to that of Denisova 3. Here we present nuclear DNA sequences from Denisova 4 and a morphological description, as well as mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data, from another molar (Denisova 8) found in Denisova Cave in 2010. This new molar is similar to Denisova 4 in being very large and lacking traits typical of Neandertals and modern humans. Nuclear DNA sequences from the two molars form a clade with Denisova 3. The mtDNA of Denisova 8 is more diverged and has accumulated fewer substitutions than the mtDNAs of the other two specimens, suggesting Denisovans were present in the region over an extended period. The nuclear DNA sequence diversity among the three Denisovans is comparable to that among six Neandertals, but lower than that among present-day humans.

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3 comments:

eurologist said...

Yes - of course: heidelbergensis.

eurologist said...

The results are consistent with my previous interpretations that Africans contributed to Neanderthal mtDNA ~ 400,000 y ago - but not then to heidelbergensis (derived from late European erectus), which during that time had started expanding eastward, and from archaeology, likely reached China by ~200,000 ya. Of course, it is possible and even likely that these groups also mixed with yet earlier Asian erectus, but that is not necessary for explaining the majority of data.

This way, Neanderthals and heidelbergensis (~ Denisovans) are sister groups in autosomal DNA, but not in mtDNA.

One Joy said...

Genome sequence present its uses in many aspects to help various needs of identification. And I do think the technology will further drive other important findings in the anthropology. With the assistance of radioactive labeling, the tech bring much unexpected benefits in many other aspects.