Jul 17, 2021 - Science

7% of human DNA is uniquely shared with other humans

An artificial skeleton is being displayed during the "Human Body 2.0-enormous universe within us" exhibition at Klovicevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb, Croatia on April 21, 2021.
An artificial skeleton is displayed during an exhibition at Klovicevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb, Croatia on April 21, 2021. Photo: Stipe Majic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Approximately 7% of humans' genome is uniquely shared with other humans, and not by other early ancestors, according to a study published Friday in Science Advances.

Context: "That’s a pretty small percentage," Nathan Schaefer, a University of California computational biologist and co-author of the paper, told AP.

  • "This kind of finding is why scientists are turning away from thinking that we humans are so vastly different from Neanderthals."

Driving the news: Researchers used DNA obtained from fossil remains of now-extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans dating back to around 40,000 or 50,000 years ago, as well as from 279 modern people from around the world, per AP.

  • The researchers found that 1.5% of humans' genome is both unique to the species and shared among all people alive today.
  • "We can tell those regions of the genome are highly enriched for genes that have to do with neural development and brain function," University of California, Santa Cruz computational biologist Richard Green, a co-author of the paper, told AP.
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