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Neandertals lived in western Eurasia and the Middle east until becoming extinct around 40,000 years ago. We have recently sequenced the Neandertal genome to high quality, and have found that up to about 2% of the genomes of people living outside Africa derive from Neandertals. We have also sequenced the genome of a finger bone from Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. This derives from a hitherto unknown group of hominins, which we call Denisovans. Up to approximately 4% of the genomes of people now living in Papua New Guinea and other parts of Melanesia derive from Denisovans. Together, these findings suggest a 'leaky replacement' scenario of human origins in which anatomically modern humans emerged out of Africa and received some degree of gene flow from archaic human populations in Eurasia that they ultimately replaced. The Neandertal and Denisova genomes allow the identification of novel genomic features that appeared in present-day humans since their divergence from a common ancestor with their closest extinct relatives. This lecture will also describe preliminary analyses of such features. http://www.basicbooks.com/full-details?isbn=9780465020836Speaker Bio
Svante Paabo has developed technical approaches that have allowed DNA sequences from extinct creatures such as mammoths, ground sloths and Neandertals to be determined. He directed the efforts to sequence the entire Neandertal genome and discovered Denisovans, a new hominin based on DNA sequences determined from a small Siberian bone. He also works on the comparative genomics of humans and apes, particularly the evolution of gene activity and genetic changes that may underlie aspects of traits specific to humans such as speech and language. Svante Paabo holds several honorary degrees and is a member of numerous academies, including the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy. He is currently a Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.