New Delhi: An estimated 50 percent of the Indian population is less likely to contract the severe Covid-19 virus, possibly because Neanderthals and modern humans became brutal with each other tens of thousands of years ago. Or so claims a group of researchers from Japan and Germany.
According to the researchers behind the study Published at PNAS Last week, nearly half of India’s population I inherited a DNA sequence length of 75,000 letters from Neanderthals that is believed to reduce the risk of serious disease due to Covid-19.
Conducted by researchers from the Okinawa Graduate University of Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany, the study sought to examine a genetic variant associated with a 22% lower risk of contracting Covid-Covid virus. 19 and admission to the ICU was in another study conducted in December. She found an identical variant to one found in three different specimens of Neanderthals.
This is not the first research to find a link between Neanderthals, a type of ancient humans that became extinct 40,000 years ago, and the susceptibility to infection with the Covid virus in modern humans.
In July last year, prof a study By researchers in Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology It found that a portion of the human genome increases the risk of serious illnesses from the Covid-19 virus inherited from Neanderthals more than 60,000 years ago. An estimated 30 percent of South Asians are thought to carry this genetic sequence.
Svante Pääbo of OIST said: “It is amazing that even though Neanderthals became extinct about 40,000 years ago, their immune system still affects us in both positive and negative ways today.” statement Released with the study.
Hugo Zieberg, one of the study’s authors, told ThePrint that nearly 50 percent of Indians carry this DNA sequence. He added that the repeat rate of this gene is 49.5 percent in Gujaratis, and 48 percent in the Telugu population.
Over thousands of years
Neanderthals evolved in western Eurasia about half a million years ago. However, their genes still had a biological influence on the physiology of modern humans, as they mixed with human populations during the tens of thousands of years of their existence.
Neanderthals have adapted to environments outside of Africa over the hundreds of thousands of years they have lived there. During this time, they will also likely adapt to infectious diseases.
Hybridization between Neanderthals and modern humans – from do you believe To trace their roots back to Africa – it is said to have led to open From each type to new viruses, and Exchange of adaptive genetic variants that provide resistance against these viruses.
For example, two genetic variants that reduce susceptibility to Helicobacter pylori – the infectious bacteria that cause gastritis and some types of stomach cancer – are thought to be heir From Neanderthals.
What has already been mentioned The July 2020 study He said that genetic variation in a region on chromosome 3, inherited from Neanderthals, increased the risk of serious disease when contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Chromosomes are thread-like structures located within the nucleus of cells. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each chromosome consists of protein and one molecule of DNA.
DNA contains the specific instructions or genetic code that make each individual unique.
In December, prof A team of researchers From the University of Edinburgh I found that The gene The variants on chromosome 12 reduce the risk that an individual will need intensive care after infection by about 22 percent.
The study was published in PNAS Last week, this variant appears to be nearly identical to that of three Neanderthals – a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal from Croatia, and two from southern Siberia, one dating back 70,000 years and the other 120,000 years old.
Chromosome 12 spans approximately 134 million DNA building blocks (base pairs) and accounts for between 4 and 4.5 percent of the total DNA in cells.
The variant gene sequence mentioned in this paper is approximately 75,000 base pairs.
Three genes in the sequence of 75,000 base pairs code for enzymes that are produced in a viral infection, which in turn activate other enzymes that degrade the viral genomes in infected cells. Simply put, three genes help the body start the biological process that attacks the virus when it infects cells.
“The enzymes encoded by the Neanderthal variant appear to be more efficient, which reduces the chance of serious consequences for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Papu said.
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