How Much DNA Do You Share with Neanderthals?

It has been said that we share 1% to 4% of our DNA with Neanderthals with the average human sharing around 2.5%. How much of your DNA is shared with Neanderthals? Do you have more or less than the average person?

At this moment in time, 55% of the Neanderthal genome has been tested. Just what this all means to us no one is quite sure about as of yet, but it will be very interesting in the future when 100% of the Neanderthal genome has been completed as scientists will have a larger picture as to what our benefits our Neanderthal DNA gives us. Our DNA is now being compared with the genome sequence that came from Neanderthal bones in a Vindija cave in Croatia, and from this scientists are able to determine how much DNA we share.

When mitochondrial DNA (which comes from your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother etc. going back ten of thousands of years) was first compared with that of Neanderthal DNA, scientists concluded that no interbreeding had taken place. However, it was revealed that contamination had occurred in the labs and greater care was then taken to ensure that it didn’t happen again.

Once scientists began to decipher Neanderthal DNA again and compared it with that of humans it was discovered that interbreeding most likely occurred in those of us living outside of Africa. It’s not known why at the moment, but those living in Africa and south of the Saharan Desert now appear to show no links with Neanderthals and there is no Neanderthal DNA whatsoever in them.

It is thought that for 10,000 years Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals mated, at least until the Neanderthals’ disappearance which was around 27,000 years ago. Their fossils cease to exist once we reach 25,000 years ago, and Homo sapiens won the battle for survival. There are many different theories as to how this happened, but many scientists think that Neanderthals just slowly died out over time.

There are some companies currently testing DNA through our saliva to see what percentage of Neanderthal DNA is in us. One such company is 23andMe and it is a fairly new test. There are sure to be many surprises in store for those of us curious about our heritage from tens of thousands of years ago. Just how much Neanderthal DNA do each of us have in us? Will you score higher than the average person or lower? Why not take a test and find out!


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