A catalog of single nucleotide changes distinguishing modern humans from archaic hominins

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Kuhlwilm, Martin; Boeckx, Cedric
Year of Publication: 2019
Journal: Scientific Reports
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Pagination: 8463
Date Published: 2019/06/11
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 2045-2322

Throughout the past decade, studying ancient genomes has provided unique insights into human prehistory, and differences between modern humans and other branches like Neanderthals can enrich our understanding of the molecular basis of unique modern human traits. Modern human variation and the interactions between different hominin lineages are now well studied, making it reasonable to go beyond fixed genetic changes and explore changes that are observed at high frequency in present-day humans. Here, we identify 571 genes with non-synonymous changes at high frequency. We suggest that molecular mechanisms in cell division and networks affecting cellular features of neurons were prominently modified by these changes. Complex phenotypes in brain growth trajectory and cognitive traits are likely influenced by these networks and other non-coding changes presented here. We propose that at least some of these changes contributed to uniquely human traits, and should be prioritized for experimental validation.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44877-x
Short Title: Scientific Reports