Neandertal and Denisovan retroviruses

Lorenzo Agoni, Aaron Golden, Chandan Guha, Jack Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Modern humans (Homo sapiens) last shared a common ancestor with two types of archaic hominins, Neandertals and Denisovans, roughly 800,000 years ago, and the population leading to modern H. sapiens separated from that leading to Neandertals and Denisovans roughly 400,000 years ago [1-4]. Genome sequences for these two types of archaic hominins have been reported [1,2]. They were determined by sequencing ancient DNAs using techniques that generated many short sequence reads. Here, we analyzed individual sequence reads used to assemble the published Neandertal and Denisovan genomes for insertions of Human Endogenous Retrovirus K (HERV-K) DNA. Virus-host DNA junctions were identified that defined 14 proviruses where modern humans contain the corresponding, empty, preintegration site. Thus, HERV-K reinfected germ lineage cells of Neandertals and Denisovans multiple times, and these events occurred around the time of or subsequent to the divergence of the archaic hominin lineages from that leading to modern humans. One of the proviruses was shared by Neandertals and Denisovans, which is consistent with the hypothesis that these archaic humans shared a common ancestor more recently than they shared one with the lineage leading to modern humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume22
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 5 2012

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Retroviridae
Neanderthals
Proviruses
DNA
Genes
Hominidae
proviruses
Endogenous Retroviruses
Viruses
ancestry
Genome
DNA Viruses
genome
Germ Cells
sequence analysis
viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Neandertal and Denisovan retroviruses. / Agoni, Lorenzo; Golden, Aaron; Guha, Chandan; Lenz, Jack.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 22, No. 11, 05.06.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Agoni, Lorenzo ; Golden, Aaron ; Guha, Chandan ; Lenz, Jack. / Neandertal and Denisovan retroviruses. In: Current Biology. 2012 ; Vol. 22, No. 11.
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