The genetic changes that shaped Neandertals, Denisovans, and modern humans

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Zeberg, Hugo; Jakobsson, Mattias; Pääbo, Svante
Year of Publication: 2024
Journal: Cell
Volume: 187
Issue: 5
Pagination: 1047 - 1058
Date Published: 2024/02/29/
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 0092-8674

SummaryModern human ancestors diverged from the ancestors of Neandertals and Denisovans about 600,000 years ago. Until about 40,000 years ago, these three groups existed in parallel, occasionally met, and exchanged genes. A critical question is why modern humans, and not the other two groups, survived, became numerous, and developed complex cultures. Here, we discuss genetic differences among the groups and some of their functional consequences. As more present-day genome sequences become available from diverse groups, we predict that very few, if any, differences will distinguish all modern humans from all Neandertals and Denisovans. We propose that the genetic basis of what constitutes a modern human is best thought of as a combination of genetic features, where perhaps none of them is present in each and every present-day individual.

Short Title: Cell