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Mol Biol Evol. 2002 Aug;19(8):1359-66.

A reanalysis of the ancient mitochondrial DNA sequences recovered from Neandertal bones.

Author information

1
Departamento de Genética, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain. ggpozo@us.es

Abstract

Recent reports analyzing mitochondrial DNA sequences from Neandertal bones have claimed that Neandertals and modern humans are different species. The phylogenetic analyses carried out in these articles did not take into account the high substitution rate variation among sites observed in the human mitochondrial D-loop region and also lack an estimation of the parameters of the nucleotide substitution model. The separate phylogenetic position of Neandertals is not supported when these factors are considered. Our analysis shows that Neandertal-Human and Human-Human pairwise distance distributions overlap more than what previous studies suggested. We also show that the most ancient Neandertal HVI region is the most divergent when compared with modern human sequences. However, the opposite would be expected if the sequence had not been modified since the death of the specimen. Such incongruence is discussed in the light of diagenetic modifications in ancient Neandertal DNA sequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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