Blame Neanderthals For Your Allergies

Posted: Jan 8 2016, 6:17am CST | by , Updated: Jan 8 2016, 6:35am CST, in News | Latest Science News


Neanderthal Gives Humans Immunity Boost and Allergies
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  • Neanderthal Gives Humans Immunity Boost and Allergies

Actually, Neanderthal DNA may be to blame for that pesky allergy you have.

So many individuals have Neanderthal genes that may be causing all those allergies. Such symptoms as hay fever may actually be traced to Neanderthal genetic sequences that exist within so many of us today.

There was a time when most researchers thought Neanderthals were stupid and couldn’t match with modern man as regards intelligence. But new evidence which has been unearthed shows that they were a complex species. Some of them may even have engaged in sex with Homo sapiens. 

When modern human beings were migrating out of Africa, they met up with Neanderthals from Europe and Western Asia. Some of them chose to cohabit and the result was that Neanderthal DNA got mixed with the modern human genetic code.

DNA from the 1000 Genomes Project was examined by scientists. Genes from Neanderthals and Denisovans were noted down. Especially the genes responsible for regulating the immune system were examined with care.

Innate immunity was studied. The moment the body detects a foreign vector entering the system, the immune response is swift. The body’s shield against disease is activated. 

It is these genes that allowed human beings to resist diseases that they encountered in their journeys throughout the world.

One of the researchers said that: “It was not surprising. Neanderthals were living in Europe and Western Asia for 200,000 years before modern humans arrived on the scene. And that means that they’d had time to adapt to the local environment including pathogens.” 

Humans would later on swap genes with Neanderthals and the result would be that their progeny still carries the genes that adapted to local pathogens. But there is a disadvantage to all this.

The same DNA causes age-old reactions to be activated such as sensitivity to bee pollen or pet dander. In fact, that is the basic reason why many people are susceptible to all sorts of allergies today. 

It is almost like an exchange of advantages and disadvantages. The coexistence of Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens was a mixed blessing.

What worked way back then may not be an asset in today’s environment. A lot will be discovered in the future regarding the traces left by Neanderthals in our modern genetic code. 

The discoveries published in two independent studies in the American Journal of Human Genetics on January 7.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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