Neandertal gene variants both increas... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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Neandertal gene variants both increase and decrease the risk for severe COVID-19.


Last year, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany showed that a major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neandertals. Now the same researchers show, in a study published in PNAS, that Neandertals also contributed a protective variant. Half of all people outside Africa carry a Neandertal gene variant that reduces the risk of needing intensive care for COVID-19 by 20 percent.

Some people become seriously ill when infected with SARS-CoV-2 while others get only mild or no symptoms. In addition to risk factors such as advanced age and diabetes, gene variants also make people more or less sensitive to developing severe COVID-19. A major genetic risk factor is located on chromosome 3 and dramatically increases the risk of respiratory failure and even death. Hugo Zeberg and Svante Pääbo at Karolinska Institutet and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology discovered last year that this risk variant is inherited from Neandertals.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Study Paper:

11 Replies

That is such interesting reading. Thanks for the links

2greys in reply to RoadRunner44

Ancient humans are a special interest of mine. Remarkable in just how far they travelled to populate the whole world.

RoadRunner44 in reply to 2greys

History and ancient history is fascinating. Its also mind boggling to think we all still have 2% neanderthal in our DNA. I believe some research suggests they were also prone to stroke which, among other things, contributed to their demise.

So that's how the Neanderthals died out! :) x

Wow Science is so amazing to be able to pinpoint that relevant gene responsible for COPD .

Also fascinated by ancient people's and Han migration patterns -thanks for posting 2 greys

Most interesting. Please can someone tell me what the Han migration pattern is. I would like to go deeper into this anthropology thing.

2greys in reply to Alberta56

Han migration is the mass migration of populations over vast distances. Commonly referenced as the migration from Northern China to Southern China in more modern times.

A lot of the genetic investigations are carried out by the Max Planck Institutes.

2greys in reply to Alberta56

What does it mean to have Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA?

2greys in reply to Alberta56

When a Neandertal Met a Denisovan, What Happened Was Only Human.

Thank you for the info. I wonder if the WEA would do an on line course?

2greys in reply to Alberta56

You might find this public lecture from 2017 interesting: Reconstructing ancient human history from DNA.


This one from 2018: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.

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