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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.

Go deeper

Sep 23, 2021 - Science

Fossil footprints show humans existed in Americas 23,000 years ago

Photo: Christian Ender/Getty Images

Scientists reported Thursday that human footprints found in White Sand National Park in New Mexico appear to date back about 23,000 years – making them the oldest known footprints in the Americas.

Why it matters: The finding renews the debate on when humans first spread across the Western Hemisphere.

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

4 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.