It was 40,000 years ago that the Neanderthals were banished from the face of the earth; however, their genome is still perceived in modern humans. It is not really known the way in which these bits of genetic code affect the modern human genome but scientists believe that Neanderthals DNA influences the human gene expression, contributing to traits, including height and predisposition to disease. Researchers believe that the remnants of their DNA may be contributing to phenotypic variation on people.

Neanderthal DNA impacting health

Even though the interbreeding between the Neanderthals and humans occurred some 50,000 years ago, the impact can still be perceived in human gene expression, impacting phenotypic variation and predisposing people to disease.

The associations point to disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and lupus. Defining the exact mechanisms of these associations has resulted in difficulty. While DNA can be extracted and examined from fossils, NRA cannot. Not having this information, scientists are not able to differentiate between Neanderthal and human genetic function.

Study on Neanderthal alleles

In this research, scientists examined a paper called the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx). In the paper, they searched for individuals carrying Neanderthal and human genes; one gene from each parent. The two alleles were contrasted and they found a difference between the Neanderthal allele and the human allele. It was discovered that the expression of Neanderthal alleles were particularly low in the brain and the testes.

ADAMTSL3- a gene that diminishes the risk of schizophrenia, while prompting height, is a mutation inherited from Neanderthal.

Human genome complexity

The interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans amplified the complexity of the human genome. This event is influencing gene expression to isome extent. The sequencing of the Neanderthal genome showed that about 2 percent of the lineage of people, except Africans, stems from the Neanderthals. With this in perspective, there may be more genes that could be influencing the traits of modern humans.