Professor Svante Paabo, Director of the Department of Genetics at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany delivers the ASC Annual Lecture.
In 2010, the first draft version of the Neandertal genome revealed that Neandertal have contributed genetic material to present-day humans living outside Africa. Recently, we have completed a genome sequence of high quality of a Neandertal individual and also of a Denisovan individual, representing a hitherto unknown Asian group related to Neandertals. These genomes reveal that up to about 2.0% of the genomes of people in Eurasia derive from Neandertals while about 4.8% of the genomes of people living in Oceania derive from Denisovans. I will discuss what is currently known about the functional consequences of the Neandertal inheritance in present-day humans. I will also describe how the Neandertal genome allows novel genomic features that appeared in present-day humans since their divergence from the Neandertal lineage to be identified and discuss how they may be functionally analyzed in the future.