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January 30 2014

Which parts of us are Neanderthal? Our genes point to skin and hair


A double-barreled comparison of ancient Neanderthal DNA with hundreds of modern-day genomes suggests that many of us have Neanderthal skin and hair traits but other parts of the Neanderthal genome appear to have been bred out of us along the way.

The findings, reported Wednesday by two separate teams of researchers in the journals Science and Nature, follow up on previous studies showing that Neanderthals interbred with humans outside Africa. Even though the Neanderthals went extinct about 30,000 years ago, they left traces of their genetic code in non-African DNA and now scientists are starting to discover exactly what that code does.

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