Neanderthals & humans' genomes only 0.12 percent different
The prehistoric human and their previously though distant cousins, the Neanderthals, were more genetically alike than previously thought. The Neanderthal genome differed from the human genome by only 0.12 percent on an average.
The new study by Liran Carmel a computational biologist and Eran Meshorer a stem Biologist from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has found that the Neanderthal and prehistoric human were as alike as any two humans on the Earth in this day and age. Besides the Neanderthal, today we share a common genome with Gorillas (98.4%) and Chimpanzees (98.8%).
The researchers used computer models to compare the epigenomes of the Neanderthals, the Homo sapiens and another cousin of the human species the Denisovans. The research determined that the human gene has the presence of an on-off cellular switch that makes a gene active or inactive.
An epigenome is the record of the genetic change of the genes that are turned on or off while the genetic sequence is intact. Genome on the other hand is the entire record of the 3 billion molecules that comprise the DNA.
The research was published in the online journal Science and stated that the Neanderthals evolved from the Homo Heidelbergensis more than 700,000 to 300,000 years ago. The Neanderthals populated Eurasia before their extinction about 40,000 years ago.