BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A long time ago, when the Neanderthals were still alive in the Europe planes, it met the modern human, another more evolved species. This led to a kind of inbreeding between the two of them. This prehistoric love story ended up in genes being combined, each species taking certain characteristics from the other, leading to a mixed type of human with a mixed immune system. The conclusion? You can blame your allergies on the Neanderthal Man.
Two different and independent studies have reached the same conclusion according to the Human Genetics American Journal that was published this January 7th. The studies show that the relations between the two different species have led to a significant alteration of their immune response to different environmental factors.
Janet Kelso, a researcher at the Max Plank Evolutionary Anthropology Institute that has its headquarters in Leipzig, Germany, says that a good part of the genomes present in the modern day human are reminiscences from the genetic build of our great ancestors, the Denisovans, and the Neanderthals.
She explains that the interbreeding with this primitive species has actually helped us, modern day homo sapiens sapiens, to build the immune system that we have today. The influence can be better seen when analyzing the Toll-like gene receptors such as TLR10, TLR1, and TLR6. These are the principal genes that detect and react to the presence of fungi, parasites or bacteria in our system.
In order to reach these result, the team of researchers has analyzed a list of genes that amount to a total of 1,500. Each was chosen specifically for the role it plays in generating an immune response.
They have compared the present data to the sequences of genomes belonging to the ancient hominins. Further along, the team researched genetic variation patterns and changes in the evolution of the genomes. The last step was to determine an estimate time frame in which the immune responses changed as to determine whether or not the Neanderthals have a role to play or not.
The most surprising finding was that the TLR genes that were mentioned before were present in a higher level in the Neanderthal man than they are in the homo sapiens sapiens. This is of course, why you should blame your allergies on the Neanderthal man.
The surprising fact is that the initial purpose of the research was to analyze how genes modified themselves over the thousands of years that have passed since the Neanderthal man era. The immunity part was a bonus.
Image source: www.flickr.com