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  A genetic analysis of the Gibraltar Neanderthals

Bokelmann, L., Hajdinjak, M., Peyrégne, S., Brace, S., Essel, E., de Filippo, C., et al. (2019). A genetic analysis of the Gibraltar Neanderthals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(31), 15610-15615. doi:10.1073/pnas.1903984116.

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 Creators:
Bokelmann, Lukas1, 2, Author           
Hajdinjak, Mateja3, Author           
Peyrégne, Stéphane2, 4, Author           
Brace, Selina, Author
Essel, Elena1, Author           
de Filippo, Cesare4, Author           
Glocke, Isabelle3, Author           
Grote, Steffi5, Author           
Mafessoni, Fabrizio1, Author           
Nagel, Sarah3, Author           
Kelso, Janet5, Author           
Prüfer, Kay1, Author           
Vernot, Benjamin1, Author           
Barnes, Ian, Author
Pääbo, Svante1, Author           
Meyer, Matthias3, Author           
Stringer, Chris, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, ou_1497688              
2The Leipzig School of Human Origins (IMPRS), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, DE, ou_1497688              
3Advanced DNA Sequencing Techniques, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, ou_2074332              
4Genetic Diversity and Selection, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, ou_2074329              
5The Minerva Research Group for Bioinformatics, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society, ou_2074303              

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Free keywords: Gibraltar Neanderthal; Forbes’ Quarry; paleogenetics; ancient DNA; library preparation
 Abstract: The remains of 2 Neanderthals were found in Gibraltar: the first at Forbes Quarry in 1848 and the second at Devil’s Tower in 1926. Since their discovery, present-day human DNA contamination has accumulated in the specimens. By developing a DNA library preparation method that reduces modern contamination before sequencing, we were able to isolate enough endogenous DNA from the specimens to determine their sex and to infer that the Forbes’ Quarry Neanderthal is more similar to 60,000- to 120,000-y-old Neanderthal specimens in Europe and western Asia than to younger Neanderthals. The laboratory protocols presented here improve access to ancient DNA from specimens that are highly contaminated with present-day human DNA.The Forbes’ Quarry and Devil’s Tower partial crania from Gibraltar are among the first Neanderthal remains ever found. Here, we show that small amounts of ancient DNA are preserved in the petrous bones of the 2 individuals despite unfavorable climatic conditions. However, the endogenous Neanderthal DNA is present among an overwhelming excess of recent human DNA. Using improved DNA library construction methods that enrich for DNA fragments carrying deaminated cytosine residues, we were able to sequence 70 and 0.4 megabase pairs (Mbp) nuclear DNA of the Forbes’ Quarry and Devil’s Tower specimens, respectively, as well as large parts of the mitochondrial genome of the Forbes’ Quarry individual. We confirm that the Forbes’ Quarry individual was a female and the Devil’s Tower individual a male. We also show that the Forbes’ Quarry individual is genetically more similar to the ˜120,000-y-old Neanderthals from Scladina Cave in Belgium (Scladina I-4A) and Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave in Germany, as well as to a ˜60,000- to 70,000-y-old Neanderthal from Russia (Mezmaiskaya 1), than to a ˜49,000-y-old Neanderthal from El Sidrón (El Sidrón 1253) in northern Spain and other younger Neanderthals from Europe and western Asia. This suggests that the Forbes’ Quarry fossil predates the latter Neanderthals. The preservation of archaic human DNA in the warm coastal climate of Gibraltar, close to the shores of Africa, raises hopes for the future recovery of archaic human DNA from regions in which climatic conditions are less than optimal for DNA preservation.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-07-152019-07-30
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 6
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1903984116
 Degree: -

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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Washington : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 116 (31) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 15610 - 15615 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
ISSN: 1091-6490