A chunk of Neanderthal DNA carried by some people living today appears to reduce the chance of miscarriage and promote fertility. The finding is the latest evidence that Homo sapiens benefitted from Stone Age sexual encounters with other human species.
Genetic studies suggest that people of non-African modern humans descent carry about 1 – 2% of Neanderthal DNA in their cells. This might have helped homo sapiens cope with Eurasian diseases which they had never encountered during their evolution in Africa.
Researchers examining data from the UK Biobank, which includes the genetic and lifestyle information of more than 450,000 people in the UK, found that women who carry the Neanderthal allele were less likely to have experienced a miscarriage or unexpected bleeding during early pregnancy.
An earlier study indicated that the Neanderthal allele is also linked with a higher chance of premature birth. But the new study puts that earlier finding in a new light. It is thought that some of these premature births would have been miscarried if the woman lacked the Neanderthal allele. In other words, it might preserve pregnancies that would otherwise be lost at an early stage.
So that is positive, but there is also a downside: the PGR Neanderthal allele is also linked to a higher occurrence of ovarian cancer. Nothing is simple !
(Colin Barras, New Scientist 8 June 2020, (Journal reference: Molecular Biology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1093/ olbey/msaa119).
My comment: I subscribe to 23and Me and have contributed to 99% of their research projects, maybe because they told me that I carried more Neanderthal genes than most of their contributors. The knowledge I have gained is practically speaking useless, but it’s fun. For the record, research shows that those with more than normal Neanderthal genes are more intelligent, more affectionate, and ( according only to me) more accepting, gentle, sociable.and cooperative. Early Epicureans, actually, They died out because homo sapiens were rude, violent, aggressive, greedy and none of the more charming things listed above. ( If you can’t advertise yourself no one is going to do it for you. There. End of blatant self-promotion).