NZ Herald: Are you descended from Neanderthals?

An article in the NZ Herald looks at whether we may be descended, at least in part, from Neanderthals, and discusses research suggesting that some of us carry parts of the Neanderthal genome

The Neanderthal genome mitochondrial genome sequence, announced in 2008, suggested that this was not the case – the recent sequencing of the Neanderthal nuclear genome, however, points to the fact that humans and Neanderthals may, indeed, have interbred.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“There are some more specifics, though. The inbreeding occurred after humans left Africa but before humans spread out from the Middle East into Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. This was detected by comparing the genome of Africans, non-Africans and the Neanderthal draft genome.

“The comparison found that non-Africans all shared the same amount of the Neanderthal genome but African genomes stood apart. The amount of Neanderthal DNA sequence in non-Africans equates to 1-4 per cent of your nuclear. Humans and Neanderthals cohabited in the Middle East for some 50,000 years so there was plenty of time for mixed Homo species liaisons.”