Did you know that Neanderthals, who lived in Europe 400,000 years ago, are still alive among us? The genetic code of modern humans carries an important legacy from Neanderthals.
It all started with the mummies. In 1981, Svante Pääbo, this week’s Nobel Prize laureate for medicine, was a young doctoral student in virology. But in addition to the official work, there was a parallel project: the extraction and decoding of the genetic material of Egyptian mummies.
Didn’t mummy DNA research succeed? Babu’s work has been published in secret in one of the world’s most important scientific journals.
But the results had problems. It was later discovered that the samples contained not only DNA from mummies. Subsequently, Pääbo mastered the methods of purifying ancient DNA and radicalizing it: instead of studying mummies that lived about three thousand years ago, he turned to a very distant past: 400 thousand years ago. Neanderthal time!
Once again, Dr. Babu’s task was difficult. First, because it is very difficult to extract pure DNA from Neanderthal fossils. It is also full of profanity. The technologies were all new.
The comparison Professor Babu always does is this: Reconstructing Neanderthal DNA is like putting an entire book in a shredder, mixing everything, pouring a lot of dirt on the little bits, then taking everything mixed up, then cleaning it up and trying it on. To rebuild the book. It’s not easy.
In 2010, the results were published. And this time everything was fine.
Thus, after such careful, patient and innovative work, the team of Professor Svante Papu has been able to unravel the DNA of a Neanderthal.
The researchers then compared this DNA with our own, the DNA of wise man. Then came the great discovery: over thousands of years, part of the DNA of Neanderthals passed into the DNA of Homo sapiens. We have 1% to 4% of Neanderthal DNA in our genetic code.
See all the details in the video report above.
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