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Nat Commun. 2014 Apr 1;5:3584. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4584.

Neanderthal ancestry drives evolution of lipid catabolism in contemporary Europeans.

Author information

1
1] CAS Key Laboratory of Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai 200031, China [2] Research and Training Center on Bioinformatics, Institute for Information Transmission Problems, RAS, Moscow 127994, Russia.
2
1] CAS Key Laboratory of Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai 200031, China [2] Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany.
3
CAS Key Laboratory of Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai 200031, China.
4
1] Research and Training Center on Bioinformatics, Institute for Information Transmission Problems, RAS, Moscow 127994, Russia [2] Department of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, Moscow State University, Moscow 119992, Russia.
5
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany.
6
Molecular Physiology Department, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam-Golm 14476, Germany.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
24690587
PMCID:
PMC3988804
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms4584
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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