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    Sunlight adaptation from Neanderthals to East Asians

    Q. Ding, Y. Hu, S. Xu, J. Wang, L. Jin, Neanderthal Introgression at Chromosome 3p21.31 Was Under Positive Natural Selection in East Asians, Molecular Biology and Evolution, First published online: December 13, 2013.

    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/conten.../molbev.mst260

    Studies of the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes demonstrate archaic hominin introgression in Eurasians. Here, we present evidence of Neanderthal introgression within the chromosome 3p21.31 region, occurring with a high frequency in East Asians (ranging from 49.4% to 66.5%) and at a low frequency in Europeans. We also detected a signal of strong positive selection in this region only in East Asians. Our data indicate that likely candidate targets of selection include rs12488302-T and its associated alleles—among which four are nonsynonymous, including rs35455589-G in HYAL2, a gene related to the cellular response to ultraviolet-B irradiation. Furthermore, suggestive evidence supports latitude-dependent selection, implicating a role of ultraviolet-B. Interestingly, the distribution of rs35455589-G suggests that this allele was lost during the exodus of ancestors of modern Eurasians from Africa and reintroduced to Eurasians from Neanderthals.
    The full paper is behind a paywall, but GailT pointed out in the DNA news thread that this paper is discussed in Sunlight Adaptation Region of Neanderthal Genome Found in Up to 65 Percent of Modern East Asian Population, Science Daily, Dec. 18, 2013,

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1218100229.htm

    With the Neanderthal genome now published, for the first time, scientists have a rich new resource of comparative evolution. For example, recently, scientists have shown that humans and Neanderthals once interbred, with the accumulation of elements of Neanderthal DNA found in up to 5 percent in modern humans.

    Are there any advantages to the retention of Neanderthal DNA that favors modern humans? In a new article published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, authors Jin, et. al., present evidence for the accumulation of a Neanderthal DNA region found on chromosome 3 that contains 18 genes, with several related to UV-light adaptation, including the Hyal2 gene. Their results reveal this region was positively selected and enriched in East Asians, ranging from up to 49 percent in Japanese to 66 percent in Southern Chinese.

    Interestingly, the authors note, the geographic distribution of the Neanderthal genomic region suggests that UV-light mutations were shown to be lost during the exodus of modern human from Africa, and reintroduced to Eurasians from Neanderthals. "Overall, it is still very controversial whether there is more Neanderthal DNA contributions to Asians than Europeans, as we have evidence to argue against this," said Lin. "Although in the case of the Hyal2 variant, it did indeed have a higher frequency in Asians." ....
    Last edited by Jean M; 01-11-2014 at 12:59 PM.

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