Immune System Introgressions / Neandertal, Denisovan HLA alleles


Neanderthal, State Museum, Halle, Germany

Denisovan admix today: Low – Black / High – Red

 

The Shaping of Modern Human Immune Systems by Multiregional Admixture with Archaic Humans

Laurent Abi-Rached,1 (see original paper for list of authors)

Abstract

Whole genome comparisons identified introgression from archaic to modern humans. Our analysis of highly polymorphic HLA class I, vital immune system components subject to strong balancing selection, shows how modern humans acquired the HLA-B*73 allele in west Asia through admixture with archaic humans called Denisovans, a likely sister group to the Neandertals. Virtual genotyping of Denisovan and Neandertal genomes identified archaic HLA haplotypes carrying functionally distinctive alleles that have introgressed into modern Eurasian and Oceanian populations. These alleles, of which several encode unique or strong ligands for natural killer cell receptors, now represent more than half the HLA alleles of modern Eurasians and also appear to have been later introduced into Africans. Thus, adaptive introgression of archaic alleles has significantly shaped modern human immune systems.

Example: Includes similar graphics for Neanderthal and Denisovan HLA alleles

Fig. 3 Effect of adaptive introgression of Neandertal HLA class I alleles on modern human populations. (A) All six Neandertal HLA-A, -B and -C alleles are identical to modern HLA class I alleles…

 

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2 thoughts on “Immune System Introgressions / Neandertal, Denisovan HLA alleles

    • I know! It’s exciting to have new ideas injected into the discussion about “who we are”. I’m tempted to “splurge” on a 23 and me genetic profile – they are apparently the only affordable service that reports Neanderthal mixture. My budget doesn’t accommodate the expense; but it’s so intriguing… ALL contemporary non-African humans do have “Neanderthal” immune system genes.

      Like

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