This is known: Neanderthals had intimate interactions with our ancestors and mothers about 60,000 years ago.
Therefore, there are still Neanderthal genes inherited by modern humans.
A recent study published in the journal Nature shows that genes inherited from Neanderthal humans increase the risk of developing a serious form of covid-19 disease.
Carriers of the gene form are hospitalized and suffer from respiratory difficulties more often than other coronary infections.
The study was conducted by Hugo Zeberg, a researcher in neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and Svante Pääbo, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.
Researchers are unable to explain why the gene form inherited from Neanderthals causes an increased coronary risk.
- It is startling that the genetic inheritance of Neanderthals has such tragic consequences during the ongoing pandemic.
Why this is the case must be clarified as soon as possible, Pääbo says in a press release from the Karolinska Institutet.
The gene form is very common in southern Asia, where it is present in up to half of the population.
In Europe, about one in six people carry these genes, found on chromosome three, but in Africa and East Asia, the gene form is almost completely absent.
Neanderthals disappeared from Europe about 30,000 years ago.
This Neanderthal settlement was found in Krapina, Croatia. Photo: Juhani Niiranen / HS
Pääbo is a well-known researcher of Neanderthal man.
He built the entire genome of the species from a DNA isolated from Neanderthal bones in 2010. Pääbo has found in previous studies that the pain threshold of a Neanderthal man may have been low.
The gene form inherited from Neanderthal humans also seems to make some modern humans more sensitive to pain than usual.
A Neanderthal man with a stout physique and slightly shorter than modern humans evolved from a Heidelberg man about 500,000 to 200,000 years ago.
The species disappeared from Europe about 30,000 years ago.
The exact reasons for the loss are not known.