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Neanderthals helped thick-skinned humans: research

Published on Jan 30, 2014 2:08 AM

PARIS (AFP) - The 1-3 per cent of the Neanderthal genome that survives in modern humans likely helped early homo sapiens adapt to cold Europe by conferring a thicker skin, researchers said Wednesday.

It may also have transferred a genetically higher risk for diabetes and lupus.

Humans acquired Neanderthal DNA through interbreeding between 40,000 and 80,000 years ago which resulted in today's European and East Asian populations, scientists believe.

Indigenous Africans have little or no Neanderthal DNA as their ancestors did not interbreed with Neanderthals, who lived in Europe and Asia.

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