Neanderthal and woolly mammoth molecular resemblance: genetic similarities may underlie cold adaptation suite

Meidad Kislev, Ran Barkai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the ongoing growth of gene-based research in recent decades, examining changes that have taken place in structures over the course of evolution has become increasingly accessible. One intriguing subject at the forefront of evolutionary research is how environmental pressures afffect species evolution through epigenetic adaptation. This article presents the available molecular components of adaptation to cold environments in two extinct mammals: the woolly mammoth and the Neanderthal. These two species coexisted in similar geographic and environmental European settings during the Middle and Upper Pleistocene, and both were direct descendants of African ancestors, although both fully evolved and adapted in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene. The authors assessed the degree of resemblance between mammoth and Neanderthal genetic components by reviewing three case studies of relevant gene variants and alleles associated with cold-climate adaptation found in both genomes. Their observations present the likelihood of a molecular resemblance between the suites of cold adaptation traits in the two species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Biology
Volume90
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Cold adaptation suite
  • Molecular resemblance
  • Neanderthals
  • Woolly mammoth

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