Neanderthals in your jeans, and Bjorn Kurten was right…

A Nature/Science pair of papers on Neanderthal genetics!

Links in there to the papers, but the summary is:

– One paper suggests that while modern humans have few Neanderthal genes individually, up to 20% of the species genome collectively is actually composed of Neanderthal genes.

– The second looks instead at different regions of the modern human genome and the relative Neanderthal influence on these. This is highly variable, with some areas heavily influenced and others not at all. Keratin is one of the heavily influenced areas, so links to skin, hair etc. The X chromosome is almost devoid of Neanderthal influence, suggesting that hybrid males would have been partly or wholly infertile – only some 36 years after Bjorn Kurten suggested exactly this with his ‘Children of the Gods’!

– Ian