Thursday, January 30, 2014

Non-African humans are mutts

So it seems Neanderthals interbred with humans in Asia and Europe. If that's where your ancestors came from, you've likely got a bunch of Neanderthal DNA in your body. The article says this interbreeding had both good and bad effects.
The researchers also showed that nine previously identified human genetic variants known to be associated with specific traits likely came from Neanderthals. These variants affect diseases related to immune function and also some behaviors, such as the ability to stop smoking. The team expects that more variants will be found to have Neanderthal origins.
I'm irritated with the article's author for failing to explain what she meant by that vague mention of smoking cessation. Being part-Neanderthal makes it harder to stop smoking -- or easier? Which is it? She doesn't say. For this huge oversight, I award her a fail.

The concept is kinda fun, though. I always hoped I had a ton of Neanderthal genes. Since my family heritage stems from Italy and Ireland, it seems I lucked out. I'm probably part-Neanderthal. Yippee!