Neandertal demise followed contact with modern humans

The timing of Neanderthal disappearance and the extent to which they overlapped with the earliest incoming anatomically modern humans (AMHs) in Eurasia are key questions in palaeoanthropology1, 2. Determining the spatiotemporal relationship between the two populations is crucial if we are to understand the processes, timing and reasons leading to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the likelihood of cultural and genetic exchange. Serious technical challenges, however, have hindered reliable dating of the period, as the radiocarbon method reaches its limit at ~50,000 years ago3. Here we apply improved accelerator mass spectrometry 14C techniques to construct robust chronologies from 40 key …

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Gen-Aktivität: Schlafmangel wirkt sich auch aufs Erbgut aus

Der Zusammenhang zwischen mangelndem Schlaf und gesundheitlichen Problemen beschäftigt die Wissenschaft schon länger. Übergewicht, Diabetes und Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen verbinden Forscher etwa mit chronischer Übermüdung. Die Mechanismen, die möglicherweise in unserem Erbgut dahinter stehen, waren bislang noch wenig erforscht.Wissenschaftler der britischen Universität von Surrey sind ihnen jetzt nachgegangen. Sie haben untersucht, wie viele Gene des Menschen von länger andauerndem Schlafmangel beeinflusst werden. Ihr Ergebnis haben sie im Magazin Proceedings of the National Academy of Science veröffentlicht. Demnach verändert eine Woche mit zu wenig Schlaf schon die Aktivität Hunderter Gene.Für ihre Studie schickten die Forscher 26 Probanden ins Schlaflabor. In der ersten Woche …

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Homo floresiensis hatte Down-Syndrom

Down-Syndrom statt neuer Menschen-Unterart: Der Sensationsfund des Homo florensiensis vor rund zehn Jahren ist möglicherweise viel weniger spektakulär als gedacht. Die Besonderheiten des Skeletts lassen sich auch mit dem Down-Syndrom erklären, berichtet ein internationales Forscherteam in den “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”. Demnach handelt es sich nur um Wachstumsstörungen eines einzelnen Individuums, nicht um eine komplett neue Unterart des Menschen. Der Fund des “Homo floresiensis” im Jahr 2004 war eine wissenschaftliche Sensation: Auf der indonesischen Insel Flores entdeckte menschliche Skelette deuteten auf eine neue, bis dahin unbekannte Unterart des Menschen hin. Besonders das Skelett mit der Bezeichnung LB1 …

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Positive eugenics – National Gamete Donation Trust

  The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), in partnership with Birmingham Women’s Hospital, has been awarded Department of Health funding to provide a National Sperm Bank set to benefit thousands. The National Sperm Bank, to be based at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, with spokes across England, will be offering a modern, NHS based, fully-integrated donor recruitment, screening and banking center which could deliver for all donor sperm requirements across the UK. There is currently a national shortage of sperm donors in the UK, especially in NHS clinics. Patient numbers continue to rise and treating those who need donor sperm is a …

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Ötzi’s non-human DNA

Ötzi’s human genome was decoded from a hip bone sample taken from the 5,300 year old mummy. However the tiny sample weighing no more than 0.1 g provides so much more information. A team of scientists from EURAC in Bolzano/Bozen together with colleagues from the University of Vienna successfully analysed the non-human DNA in the sample. They found evidence for the presence of Treponema denticola, an opportunistic pathogen involved in the development of periodontal disease. Thus, by just looking at the DNA, the researchers could support a CT-based diagnosis made last year which indicated that the Iceman suffered from periodontitis. …

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Modern humans emerged from complex labyrinth of peoples

Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neandertals. “The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils,” said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “It suggests, instead, that the later phases of human evolution were more of a labyrinth of biology and peoples than simple lines on …

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DNA Mysteries – The Search For Adam

A new documentation from 2014    

Prehistoric Autopsy

Episode One, Neanderthal   Episode Two, Homo Erectus   Episode Three, Lucy

From Fossils to the Genome

Part 1: Introductory remarks by Dr John Murray and welcome address by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway. NUI Galway public lecture by Professor Svante Pääbo, of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, on the DNA of Neanderthal people. This event was part of a weekend long international symposium entitled ‘From Fossils to the Genome’, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the naming of Neanderthal people by William King, Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the then Queen’s College Galway. Part 2: Professor Pääbo’s lecture in full, including questions and answers at the end. NUI …

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Native America before European Colonization

Upon the arrival of Columbus in 1492 in the Carabean Islands, unknown to Columbus (and majority of the Eastern Hemisphere), he landed on Islands located in the middle of two huge continents now known has North America and South America that was teaming with huge Civilizations (that rivaled any in the world at that time) and thousands of smaller Nations and Tribes. With recent estimations, the population may have been over 100 million people that spanned from Alaska and Green Land, all the to the tip of southern South America.  

First Out of Africa – The totally isolated Tribe of the Andaman

There are still people in this world who have no idea that civilization exists. On remote islands in the Bay of Bengal live mysterious tribes. The five-foot high black skinned Andaman islanders are rumoured by sailors to be cannibals. Their origins are mysterious, but this film reveals how modern DNA analysis suggests that these ancient people have close links to Africa, from where they have been separated for 100,000 years

BBC: Planet of the Apemen

Planet of the Apemen was a dramatised documentary on the struggles of Homo sapiens with Homo erectus in the first episode, and Homo neanderthalensis in the second episode, broadcast on BBC One on 23 and 30 June 2011 respectively. Teil 1: Teil 2: Teil 3: Teil 4: Teil 5: Teil 6:     Siehe auch: Teil 1: Teil 2:

Genetics, epigenetics and disease

Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Prize Lecture given by Professor Adrian Bird CBE FMedSci FRS on Tuesday 22 January 2013. Adrian Bird CBE FMedSci FRS is the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh. The human genome sequence has been available for more than a decade, but its significance is still not fully understood. While most human genes have been identified, there is much to learn about the DNA signals that control them. This lecture described an unusually short DNA sequence, just two base pairs long, CG, which occurs in several chemically different forms. Defects in signalling by CG are …

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Genomic Medicine – Bruce Korf (2014)

A lecture series covering contemporary areas in genomics and bioinformatics

Archaic Genomics – Svante Pääbo

Dr. Svante Pääbo, director of the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, has helped us understand human evolution by decoding DNA isolated from the dry bones of our ancestors. Using ancient DNA he demonstrated that Neanderthals interbred with humans when modern humans left Africa 50-80k years ago. In another study, Dr. Pääbo sequenced the DNA from a pinky bone found in a Siberian cave. Comparing this DNA to that of Neanderthal and humans his team determined this bone came from previously unknown species of hominid, now called Denisovans. Dr. Pääbo’s lecture covered these stories and …

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