We’re all Neanderthal now, and I can analyze that…
If you haven’t been reading the news, the draft sequence of the Neandertal (or is it Neanderthal, spell check won’t take the former) was released and published in Science today. There is a lot of fascinating stuff over there. Still reading it. Of course the big news, the stuff thats flying through the news, are non-African genomes are 1-4% Neanderthal. This seems to conclusively settle the question that yes, we are a little bit Neanderthal and we didn’t replace them, we absorbed them with some interbreeding. Perhaps not so completely as that but definitely some admixture going on. As Razib of Gene Expression points out, it’s fascinating to watch how quickly, in the face of data, the paradigm has shifted. (great post and discussion, should read it).
As Razib points out, and as you can read in the announcement at UCSC, the UCSC Genome Browser now has the draft data up in the hg18 genome assembly. Like the coding region allelic differences data, selective sweep data, etc. With the Neanderthal data now being in the UCSC Genome Browser and other data sources, we can pull apart that data, analyze it.. (and you know I’ll be putting my personal genome in a comparative track when I ever get it. Just curious ya know).
(btw, there is an interesting photo, copyrighted… so I won’t post it here, you might want to check out. There’s an interesting story there, how our illustrations of Neanderthal have evolved over the years to be more ‘humanizing’ as we learn that they made tools, had culture and now… are part of our ancestry…”)
I am itching to go play there and see what I can see, as I am sure many scientists are. It’s also fascinating to be in this world of huge amounts of data coming quickly. I think a lot of paradigms will be shifting for a while.
UCSC Main site: http://genome.ucsc.edu and click Neandertal from left navigation button.