July 1, 2022

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Artificial intelligence finds an unknown 'ghost' ancestor in the human genome - teach me about science

Artificial intelligence finds an unknown ‘ghost’ ancestor in the human genome – teach me about science

Seemingly teen Discovered 3 years ago, more than 50,000 years ago, which had strange properties and seemed to be a “hybrid” ancestor of modern humans that scientists had never seen before, he was not alone.

Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor thanks to artificial intelligence, one that appears to have interacted with modern humans on a long journey out of Africa many centuries ago.

The biologist commented: “About 80,000 years ago, the so-called Exodus from Africa occurred when part of the population, which was already modern humans, left the African continent and migrated to other continents, giving rise to all the current populations.” Jaume Bertranpetite of Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.

There was already an idea of ​​what happened thanks to the study of carved stones, languages, however, what researchers did not agree on was the date on which the expansion of the settlers occurred. The transition that led modern humans to populate the continental mass of Eurasia also gave rise to new phenomena such as interbreeding with ancient and extinct hominins from other species.

Several years ago, sexual partners were thought to include Neanderthals and Denisovans, the latter not known until 2010. But in this research, a gene was isolated in Eurasian DNA, obtained thanks to deep learning algorithms with which ancient human genetic code is analyzed and modern.

Thanks to a statistical technique called Bayesian inference, it became possible to determine the group of “ghosts” with which modern humans interbred during the African migration.

In their article, the scientists noted that “this population group is related to the interaction of Neanderthals and Denisovans or diverged early from the Denisova lineage,” which means that the third group in the sexual history of mankind is a coupling between Neanderthals and Denisovans.

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This might be a hypothetical confirmation of some kind for the “hybrid fossil” of a teenage girl identified in 2018; But the works are not directly related and there is still a lot of research to be done.

“Our theory matches the recently discovered hybrid sample in Denisova, although we cannot rule out other possibilities yet,” genomic scientist Mayukh Mondal of the University of Tartu in Estonia, commented in a press release at the time of the discovery.

With this evidence and thanks to artificial intelligence, there are more and more discoveries about our ancestors. By calculating genetic evidence, scientists can orient themselves for future research.

Another discovery in 2018 was the “third final mating event” along with Denisovans and Neanderthals, and a pair of research papers published in early 2019 traced the timeline of how these extinct species interbred and reproduced. never seen before.

The advantages we have now for future research is the application of artificial intelligence in the field of human origin, but there is little fossil evidence, so we must continue to search for more evidence.

“We thought we’d try to find these places of great difference in the genome, see which ones are Neanderthals and which ones belong to Denisovans, and then see if those places explain the whole picture,” Bertranpetite said.

“It just so happens that if you subtract the Neanderthal and Denisovan parts, there’s still something in the genome that is very divergent.”

The results have been published in Nature Communications.

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