Evidence grows that old people are mixed with unknown race of people, because new study shows ‘ghost DNA’ in samples of the contemporary population in West Africa
- The researchers studied the genetic material of 405 people from West Africa
- They discovered mysterious genetic material, which they have called “ghost DNA.”
- It suggests that people mixed with an unknown group about 50,000 years ago
Researchers have found “ghost DNA” among hundreds of people in contemporary West Africa, suggesting that old people mixed with a previously unknown group about 50,000 years ago.
The astonishing find, published in the journal Science Advances, came after the scientists analyzed genetic material from 405 people from Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
They discovered signs of what they have called “ghost DNA,” which they think comes from a group of people who were previously unknown.
Although there is no bone or DNA to prove the theory, the researchers say the evidence is clear in the genes of contemporary West Africans.
Study authors Sriram Sankararaman and Arun Durvasula
It is not the first time that ‘ghost DNA’ has been identified in the genes of Africans.
In Cameroon in January DNA discovered in four skeletons of children buried in an air-raid shelter at an archaeological site Shum Laka also point to the existence of a long-lost ‘ghost’ branch of the human family tree.
All four skeletons inherited about a third of their DNA from ancestors similar to the hunter-gatherers of West Central Africa.
However, the remaining two-thirds of their DNA came from an old West African source, including a “long-lost ghost population” that was previously unknown to science.
This, in combination with the most recent discovery, further clarifies the picture of how modern humans evolved from other related races.
Sriram Sankararaman, a computer biologist at UCLA and one of the study’s authors, said, “It’s almost certainly the case that the story is incredibly complex and complicated, and we have some of these initial clues about complexity.”
It is thought that the cross took place about 50,000 years ago, around the same time that Neanderthals bred modern people elsewhere in the world (stock photo)
He admitted that the mystery DNA did not belong to Neanderthals or other well-known groups, such as Denisovans, and said that he and his co-author Arun Durvasula believe it is entirely from a new group.
Sankaraman added: “We have no clear identity for this archaic group.
“That’s why we use the term” spirit. ” It does not seem to be particularly closely related to the groups from which we have genome sequences. ”
In their research, they analyzed the genomes of West Africans and used a statistical model to identify different parts of the DNA.
They explained the technique: “Bringing out pieces of DNA that we think are probably from a population that is not modern.”
It is thought that the crossing took place about 50,000 years ago, around the same time that Neanderthals bred modern people elsewhere in the world.
Sharon Browning, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington, who studied the blending of Denisovans and people, told NPR: “The scenario they discover here is one that seems realistic.”
Browning adds that the ghost DNA often occurs in the genetic material, suggesting that it is “useful” for modern humans.
However, the authors of the study admit that it is unknown what role ghost genes play in people who wear them.