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Did Neanderthal DNA Persist in Modern Humans as a Defense against Xenobiotic Viruses?

By Kevin E. Noonan — Human evolution, once its occurrence was recognized over a century and a half ago, has long been a source of confusion, concern, and controversy (as well as fascination and wonder). The recent explosion in our understanding of the human genome, and particularly genomes of humanity’s ancestors, has refined the concept of what it means to be human. For example, it has become common knowledge (thanks to 23andMe, Helix, and others) that modern humans contain small amounts (~2%) of DNA in common with Neanderthals, and that other forms, such as the Denisovans and Homo florensiensis, existed…

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