Some modern humans have retroviral DNA that was present in Neanderthals, Denisovans

11/20/2013 | New Scientist

Retroviral DNA sequences present in Neanderthals and Denisovans have been found in modern humans, according to researchers in Britain. Scientists studied the genomes of 67 cancer patients and found six retroviral sequences that previously had been thought to be unique to ancient humans, suggesting that the viruses were present in human ancestors before splitting from the line that produced Neanderthals and Denisovans about 400,000 years ago. "The results show that we can find individuals today who share loci with Denisovans or Neanderthals, but not with other humans alive today," said Gkikas Magiorkinis of the University of Oxford, co-author of the study reported in Current Biology.

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