Monday, November 25, 2013
A research group discovered a novel receptor, which allows the immune system of modern humans to recognize dangerous invaders, and subsequently elicits an immune response
The blueprint for this advantageous structure was in addition identified in the genome of Neanderthals, hinting at its origin. The receptor provided these early humans with immunity against local diseases. The presence of this receptor in Europeans but its absence in early men suggests that it was inherited from Neanderthals. This receptor, which is abbreviated as “HLA-DRaDPb”, consists of the combination of subunits of already known receptors. Scientists compared the gene sequence, which encodes the discovered receptor, with data bases and determined that an estimated two-thirds of Europeans carry this important structure. Scientists also found that the gene sequence required for this receptor is rare in people in southern Africa, the region known as the cradle of mankind.