Neanderthal, Denisovan genes protect humanity from HIV - researcher

Genes contributed to the modern human genome by Neanderthal and Denisovan hominids (Homo Altaiensis) are protecting mankind from the HIV virus, the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

Genes contributed to the modern human genome by Neanderthal and Denisovan hominids (Homo Altaiensis) are protecting mankind from the HIV virus, the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

"Modern people, you and I, have inherited very strong protection from HIV from Denisovans and Neanderthals. If modern humans had not cross-bred with Denisovans and Neanderthals, the immune deficiency, HIV, would have been a real tragedy," Director of the Archaeology and Ethnography Institute of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Academician Anatoly Derevyanko told reporters.

He said research would continue this season in the Denisova Cave and other archaeological sites, which might shed light on migration of ancient people, including Denisovans.

Human remains of the Neolithic era found in the Novosibirsk region in 2013 were extremely important, as the genomes of indigenous people of Siberia, Denisovans and inhabitants of the Malta site near Irkutsk aged 21,000-23,000 years differed greatly, he said.

"We needed material for genome sequencing dating back 4,000-8,000 years and we got it," he said.

Derevyanko told Interfax earlier that Denisovans might have been the core of the assorted population of Siberia, which formed in the course of migration processes and hybridization.

The Denisova Cave in Altai became famous in 2010 after hitherto unknown remains had been found there, but it was occupied both by Denisovans and Neanderthals.

Paleogenetic tests showed the modern human preserved about 6 percent of Denisovan genes. The genes were found in residents of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea and Australian aborigines. Contemporary residents of Eurasia inherited about 4 percent of their genes from Neanderthals.

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