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introgression

Introgression is the incorporation of genes from one population into another population. Generally biologists use the term introgression when the populations are separated by substantial evolutionary distance, such as different species or lineages that have been separated by a long time.

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Fossil profile: Skhūl 1 and the mixing of populations

A child's skull from Mount Carmel gives an occasion to look at the history of ideas about population mixture.

Skhūl 1 calvaria with information
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Fossil profile: Zlatý kůň and the Neandertal heritage of early Upper Paleolithic Europeans

A skull from Czechia represents an individual from one of the earliest European modern human populations to encounter Neandertals.

Zlatý kůň cranium with information
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Ancient genetic introgression between cave hyenas and spotted hyenas

Describing the results of genomic work by Michael Westbury and collaborators, including ancient hyena genomes from Eurasia and North America.

Spotted hyena on a dark background
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Research highlight: Accurate depiction of uncertainty in ancient DNA research: The case of Neandertal ancestry in Africa

An article in the Journal of Social Archaeology looking at how researchers shaped public perceptions of Neandertal DNA heritage in living people.

Cover page of "Accurate depiction of uncertainty in ancient DNA research"
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Goat immunity modified by introgression during and after domestication

A new paper in Science Advances describes some of the evidence for selection on introgressed genes in goats.

Goat immunity modified by introgression during and after domestication
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Neandertals got as much as 6% of their genomes from Africa

An analysis by Melissa Hubisz and coworkers finds that mtDNA is not all that Neandertals received from our African ancestors

Neandertals got as much as 6% of their genomes from Africa
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How much Neandertal DNA do today's African peoples have?

New research shows that today's populations in Africa have around one third the Neandertal ancestry as people in Eurasia.

A male Neanderthal with white beard and long hair, holding spear
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An enormous sample sheds light on the Denisovan ancestry of people in Iceland

Laurent Skov and coworkers have measured the very small amount of DNA shared within the Iceland population from Denisovan ancestry and they discuss several scenarios for how it may have gotten there.

An Iceland landscape with Northern Lights in the sky reflected in a lake
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Part of a Denisovan mtDNA resides in the nuclear genomes of many living people

A paper last week by Robert Bücking and coworkers trawled through the recently-sequenced Indonesian Genome Diversity Project dataset looking for snippets of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that have been inserted into the nuclear genome. These snippets, called “NUMTs”, arise every so often as a result of DNA transfer from the mitochondrion

A reproduction of the Denisova 3 finger bone sits on a chalk outline of a hand
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Denisovan traits bring up the old problem of understanding morphological continuity

A paper by Shara Bailey and coworkers suggests that three-rooted lower molars are diagnostic of population mixture from Denisovans.

Fossil mandible from Xiahe, China, viewed from right side.