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The prestigious biologist Swedish Svante Pääbo , director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, has published together with his colleague Hugo Zeberg a surprising study that linked the DNA of the neanderthals with the probability of suffering the most severe form of covid-19 . The report can be read in an online archive for the prepublicaciones of scientific articles and has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The study is particularly striking for those who sign, as Pääbo, Prize Princess of Asturias Research 2018, is responsible for the complete sequencing of the genome of the neanderthal. For this work, we learned that the greater part of all of us, unless the african people, bearers of a genetic inheritance of the human species with which we crossed in Europe and Asia more than 40,000 years.
The new report identifies a group of genes in the chromosome 3 as a risk for respiratory failure from SARS-CoV-2. According to the authors, the recent data that comprise 3.199 patients with this disease find that that is the main genetic risk factor for the infection and hospitalization for SARS-CoV-2 severe. Pääbo and Zeberg believe that the risk is conferred by a segment of genome that is inherited from the neanderthals, and occurs with a frequency of around 30% in south Asia and 8% in Europe. In Bangladesh, at least 63% of the population has one copy of this variant.
at The beginning of the pandemic, it became clear that the advanced age is a major risk factor, as well as the male sex or suffer from some pathologies. However, according to the researchers, these risk factors do not explain completely why some people do not have symptoms, or the symptoms are mild, while others become seriously ill. Therefore, the genetic risk factors are being investigated.
Six genes of the chromosome 3
In particular, the researchers believe that inheritance fatal occurred by the intersection between modern humans and neanderthals identified in the neanderthal genome from Vindija (Croatia) , 40,000 years ago. Such hybridization is “recorded” in six genes on chromosome 3 that is associated with a greater risk of the new coronavirus in a serious way. “In the current pandemic, it is clear that gene flow from neanderthals has tragic consequences,” say the authors.
this is Not the first time that our ills are attributed to the inheritance neanderthal. The propensity to allergies, depression, tobacco addiction, myocardial infarction, and even some skin lesions has been associated with this human species. On the positive side, one out of every three european women has in its genes a gene inherited directly from neanderthals that is associated with a higher fertility, less bleeding during the early stages of pregnancy, and fewer miscarriages.