It’s now widely known that many modern humans carry up to 4% Neanderthal DNA.
But a new analysis of the Neanderthal Y chromosome, the package of genes passed down from fathers to sons, shows it is missing from modern populations.
The team found differences in immunity genes on the Neanderthal Y chromosome that could have led to miscarriages.
The results have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics (open access).
“We’ve never observed the Neanderthal Y chromosome DNA in any human sample ever tested,” said co-author Prof Carlos Bustamante, from Stanford University in California.
“That doesn’t prove it’s totally extinct, but it likely is.”