You are here

PLoS Genet DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002947

The date of interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSankararaman, S, Patterson, N, Li, H, Pääbo, S, Reich, D
JournalPLoS Genet
Date Published2012
KeywordsAfrican Continental Ancestry Group, Animals, European Continental Ancestry Group, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Flow, Gene Frequency, Genome, Humans, Linkage Disequilibrium, Models, Genetic, Mutation Rate, Neanderthals, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide

Comparisons of DNA sequences between Neandertals and present-day humans have shown that Neandertals share more genetic variants with non-Africans than with Africans. This could be due to interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans when the two groups met subsequent to the emergence of modern humans outside Africa. However, it could also be due to population structure that antedates the origin of Neandertal ancestors in Africa. We measure the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the genomes of present-day Europeans and find that the last gene flow from Neandertals (or their relatives) into Europeans likely occurred 37,000-86,000 years before the present (BP), and most likely 47,000-65,000 years ago. This supports the recent interbreeding hypothesis and suggests that interbreeding may have occurred when modern humans carrying Upper Paleolithic technologies encountered Neandertals as they expanded out of Africa.


Alternate JournalPLoS Genet.
PubMed ID23055938
PubMed Central IDPMC3464203
Grant ListR01 GM100233 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States