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Thread: Denisovans may have mated with modern humans as recently as 15,000 years ago

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    Denisovans may have mated with modern humans as recently as 15,000 years ago

    For the new study, an international team analyzed the complete genomes of 161 people from 14 groups in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. In the DNA of 60 people from New Guinea, population biologist Murray Cox of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, and molecular biologist Herawati Sudoyo of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta and their colleagues found an unexpected twist. The first Denisovan DNA discovered, from the Siberian cave, comes from a single population (which geneticists have labeled D0). But “Papuans carry DNA from at least two [other] Denisovan populations, called D1 and D2,” Cox said in his talk, which was filmed in advance and played at the meeting.

    When the team members analyzed the DNA with three statistical methods, they found that the two additional sources of Denisovan DNA came from populations so distantly related that they had diverged more than 283,000 years ago. And the D2 population is most distant from the Siberian Denisovans, splitting off roughly 363,000 years ago. That makes those two populations almost as distantly related to each other as they are to Neanderthals, Cox says. “We used to think of Denisovans as a single group,” notes Cox, who suggests as an aside that the D2 group might even need a new name.

    Is there a publication yet?

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    But i wonder at this point if the archaic introgression in Oceanians is really from Denisova. Likely the hominin in question is related with Denisova, but is it Denisova itself? Meaning the Altai skulls we have. Almost 300'000 years of separation between D1 and D2 and almost 400'000 between D1"D2 with D0. It's an enough gap for evolution to create a new subspecie. Sadly we dont have genomic from Homo Floresiensis and East Asiatic Homo Erectus. We are just at the beginning of Denisovan studies.

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    The Stanford study by Skoglund and Jakobsson (2011) was the pioneer study on ancient Denisovan DNA. But it lacked an Aboriginal Australian sample. Otherwise, Australia in the heat map would be red. The new study also didn't sample Aboriginal Australian DNA as it primarily focused on Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, where they collected 161 samples. One of the authors, Murray Cox of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, could have traveled to Australia to collect Aboriginal Australian DNA samples. Without taking Australia into account, Denisovan DNA research cannot be complete.
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