Neanderthal ancestry drives evolution of lipid catabolism in contemporary Europeans.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Khrameeva, Ekaterina E; Bozek, Katarzyna; He, Liu; Yan, Zheng; Jiang, Xi; Wei, Yuning; Tang, Kun; Gelfand, Mikhail S; Prüfer, Kay; Kelso, Janet; Pääbo, Svante; Giavalisco, Patrick; Lachmann, Michael; Khaitovich, Philipp
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Nat Commun
Volume: 5
Pagination: 3584
Date Published: 2014
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2041-1723
Keywords: Animals, Biological Evolution, European Continental Ancestry Group, Genome, History, Ancient, Humans, Lipid Metabolism, Neanderthals, Pan troglodytes, Phylogeny

Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in contemporary humans. Here we show that while the genome-wide frequency of Neanderthal-like sites is approximately constant across all contemporary out-of-Africa populations, genes involved in lipid catabolism contain more than threefold excess of such sites in contemporary humans of European descent. Evolutionally, these genes show significant association with signatures of recent positive selection in the contemporary European, but not Asian or African populations. Functionally, the excess of Neanderthal-like sites in lipid catabolism genes can be linked with a greater divergence of lipid concentrations and enzyme expression levels within this pathway, seen in contemporary Europeans, but not in the other populations. We conclude that sequence variants that evolved in Neanderthals may have given a selective advantage to anatomically modern humans that settled in the same geographical areas.

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4584
Alternate Journal: Nat Commun
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