Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences from two Denisovan individuals

Susanna Sawyer, Gabriel Renaud, Bence Viola, Jean Jacques Hublin, Marie Theres Gansauge, Michael V. Shunkov, Anatoly P. Derevianko, Kay Prüfer, Janet Kelso, Svante Pääbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Denisovans, a sister group of Neandertals, have been described on the basis of a nuclear genome sequence from a finger phalanx (Denisova 3) found in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains. The only other Denisovan specimen described to date is a molar (Denisova 4) found at the same site. This tooth carries a mtDNA sequence similar to that of Denisova 3. Here we present nuclear DNA sequences from Denisova 4 and a morphological description, as well as mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data, from another molar (Denisova 8) found in Denisova Cave in 2010. This new molar is similar to Denisova 4 in being very large and lacking traits typical of Neandertals and modern humans. Nuclear DNA sequences from the two molars form a clade with Denisova 3. The mtDNA of Denisova 8 is more diverged and has accumulated fewer substitutions than the mtDNAs of the other two specimens, suggesting Denisovans were present in the region over an extended period. The nuclear DNA sequence diversity among the three Denisovans is comparable to that among six Neandertals, but lower than that among present-day humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15696-15700
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Ancient DNA
  • Denisovans
  • Neandertals

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