This means Africans should be less susceptible to Covid

Modern humans and Neanderthals could be forgiven for having other issues on their minds when they interbred in the stone age. But according to researchers, those ancient couplings laid a grim foundation for deaths around the world today.

Scientists have claimed that a strand of DNA that triples the risk of developing severe Covid-19 was passed on from Neanderthals to modern humans. The genetic endowment, a legacy from more than 50,000 years ago, has left about 16% of Europeans and half of south Asians today carrying these genes.

The origins of the risk genes came to light when scientists in Sweden and Germany compared the DNA of very sick Covid-19 patients with that from Neanderthals and their mysterious sister group, the Denisovans. The stretch of DNA that makes patients more likely to fall seriously ill closely matched that collected from a Neanderthal in Croatia.

The Neanderthal component of African genes being only a small backwash rather that that larger amount – and Denisovan – in European and Asian.

Genes matter, eh?

24 thoughts on “This means Africans should be less susceptible to Covid”

  1. “Remember that evolution only happens below the neck.”

    And that human evolution has ceased, that human bio-diversity is negligible and race is a social construct.

  2. At last climate change has shown the way. Science has done its duty and proved what it should. Whites are the untermenschen.

  3. This means Africans should be less susceptible to Covid

    All else being equal, perhaps. Other factors unique to, or significantly expressed in, Africans may swamp any benefit from lacking this particular gene.

  4. ” And that human evolution has ceased, that human bio-diversity is negligible and race is a social construct.”

    You’re right of course. I momentarily forgot and will report to the gulag for re-education immediately!

  5. “I momentarily forgot and will report to the gulag for re-education immediately!”

    Repeat after me: Race is not a social construct – societies are racial constructs.

  6. ” Repeat after me: Race is not a social construct – societies are racial constructs.”

    Bl**dy hell Theo, you’ll be getting the ‘Knock on the Door’ tonight if you’re not careful.

    Just make sure you take some of them with you….

  7. I’ve always found Cro Magnons more fascinating than those ghastly, beastly Neanderthals but they never get a mention. Cancel culture!

    Oops! Sorry, apparently those Neanderthals were actually sort of a hippie flower people of their time, according to the latest science.

  8. Oooh…. Nature actually plays by the Rules for a change… You can actually dowload the article without paying through the nose… Still have to know *where* to click, but still….

    Scanning through the actuals science.. Looks valid, so can be a handy thing to identify people at risk accurately. Provided you want your DNA on record and stuff… And a quick and easy test for those alleles is available ( pffftt… such humor.. much laughs…)

    The whole “blame the Neanderthals” bit is, of course, utter bollocks. But what can you expect from Journalists…
    I’d like to see the logic behind the “reasoning” how Neanderthals can be “blamed” for anything given that you’re talking about *at least* a double fistful of millennia since our ancestors did the humpy thing, with Mother Nature throwing everything + dog against our immune system since, and some of it happening to stick against some of the parts resulting from the humpy thing now.

    But it’s the Guardian.. I guess the poor sods writing there must be able to blame someone before getting a piece published…

  9. How much Neanderthal DNA do the Han carry?

    If Mr Eleven has his way about archeological research, the Neanderthals will shortly be classified as Chinese.

  10. There should be *zero* Neanderthal DNA in South Asians as they never lived in any of South Asia – the South Asians (and Han Chinese) have some *Denisovan* DNA. [Oh, dear, can’t expect the Grauniad to get even that right, can we?]
    This *could* – just could – be a partial explanation for the higher Covid-19 mortality in Europeans and Americans than in Africans and Asians. It could, possibly, also explain the higher mortality from bubonic plague (“Black Death”) in Europe than in its country of origin, China.

  11. So the result of my ancient ancestors having interspecies sex is that I carry a bit of dodgy DNA. I can live with that because if they hadn’t a great slice of my family tree, me included, would never have been born.

  12. This means Africans should be less susceptible to Covid

    Well yes, but there is something far more relevant there. Average age. A very small % of them fit into the “at significant risk” age profile. Lockdowns in Africa (given there are far more important issues) is bat shit crazy.

    The Tanzanian guy got it spot on. Tested various random items, and apparently the goat, pawpaw and the quail all came up Covid positive… So he sacked the chief medical wallah, and they just carried on as normal.

  13. John 77: “There should be *zero* Neanderthal DNA in South Asians as they never lived in any of South Asia – the South Asians (and Han Chinese) have some *Denisovan* DNA. [Oh, dear, can’t expect the Grauniad to get even that right, can we?]”

    I invite you to actually read the actual scientific article.. It haz maps…
    You’ll find that a lot of South Asia has traces of Neanderthal DNA.
    Not surprising since we got the stuff somewhere Oop North west of the Caucasus range (The Denisovan admixture took place east of said range, if not in Asia itself) , after which we spread out all over the globe.
    People tend to move around, y’know…

    Besides that.. The Neanderthal and Denisovan admixtures are not an either/or thing. Peeps can have both. Something, something, large invasions, resulting in empires and many Interesting Times across Eurasia. Some of them are even in your history books.. ( the actual ones, not that jewish-ish rag..)

    So yeah.. You’re about as far off as your average grauniad hack on this one.

  14. “So the result of my ancient ancestors having interspecies sex is that I carry a bit of dodgy DNA.”

    Inter-species sex is occurring in a city near you. You can see the results in the crime figures. In England, there’s been at least 800 years of selection for non-violent traits. Then, in the 50s, a violent sub-species arrived…

  15. @ Grikath
    Yes, it has maps – so did the lecture by the Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge University that I watched recently which showed the range of Neanderthal occupation covering most of Europe, a bit of the Middle East and a little of Southern Siberia.
    Now, if you look at the Covid-19 mortality rate in Bangladesh of 32 per million or its death:infection ratio of 1.4% (UK 622 per million and 9.0%) it might cast doubt on the assertion that a strand of DNA found in 63% of Bangladeshis and only 8% of Europeans is the primary cause of a higher death rate of Bangladeshis than non-Bangladeshis in the UK – obesity and known co-morbidities such as diabetes and heart disease are a plausible alternative explanation.
    Papua New Guinea, another country with a high frequency of the “haplotype” has a death rate of 0.8 per million, Sri Lanka 0.6 per million, Pakistan 29 per million; among South Asian countries only India at 73 per million has a mortality rate more than 3% of Peru’s or 4% of Belgium’s.
    As to the geographical distribution of Neanderthals I am not qualified to make pronouncements so I was – and remain – happy to rely on one of the world’s top academic experts.

  16. @ Theophrastus
    Not quite – there was merely a selection for violent traits when recruiting for the army which thinned out that sub-sector of the population.
    The most noticeable immigrants in the 1950s were black nurses and tube train drivers, not violent types. Maybe you’ve mixed up your decades?

  17. “As to the geographical distribution of Neanderthals I am not qualified to make pronouncements so I was – and remain – happy to rely on one of the world’s top academic experts.”

    The geographical distribution of the Neanderthal subspecies has very little to do where the surviving gene fragments actually end up. Migrations of large amounts of people carrying said fragments across large distances do. Especially if they end up staying along the way.
    Which has happened many times in history.

    The particular distribution in Asia of these fragments is actually easy when it comes to pointing the finger at the likely “culprit”. Especially given that there’s plenty written about his exploits, and his descendants’.. Especially his last descendant, who was in the middle ( some even say the cause) of a biatchfight between rival Roman senators..

    After nabbing Egypt, a certain Ptolemean went on an expedition where again?

  18. And as far as mortality is concerned…

    The allele is just one factor in the pathology of CoVid19. It is not “the thing and the whole of the thing”. It’s a factor that’s highly suspected to influence the severity of the symptoms, not actual mortality, as that’s not been tested. It’s alll in the article..

    Slamming gross averages against a single factor while saying “I don’t see the difference” is Spudonomics.

  19. Grikath
    “The history books must be deceiving me.”
    Wars are not a good measure of how violent a society is. England developed the rule of law in the 13thC and over the next 800 years became a low violence society with a lower murder rate than anywhere else in Europe. See Steven Linker and Nicholas Wade for details.

    John77
    As far as we can tell, as English society became more peaceful, the people who succeeded in passing on their genes were those who avoided violence. Those with violent impulses could channel them into warfare rather than preying on their fellow citizens.
    The sub-species that arrived in the 1950s carried the variation on the MAOA gene that predisposes to extreme violence and much more so than the indigenous population.

  20. @ Grikath
    Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s generals. Alexander was not a Ptolemian. Schoolboy howler.
    Alexander did not get anywhere near Bengal, his army persuaded him to turn back so his invasion was almost entirely limited to what is now Pakistan. His only son was murdered as a child and so was his last descendant.
    The commonly accepted theory is that “Indo-Europeans” migrated *from* India into Europe via the Caucasus, not vice versa. Western Europeans are descended partly from the hunter-gatherers who interbred with the Neanderthals but more from the more numerous agriculturalists who migrated westwards from Anatolia and the steppes – there seems to be *no* evidence of migration from west to east, such as you postulate.
    If you re-read my post I pointed out that there appeared to be a number of factors which contributed to the different mortality rates in England and that it was more plausible that these were the main cause than a strand of DNA associated with far lower mortality rates in all the South Asian countries in which it has a high frequency. You have to stretch credibility to determine that this allele increases the impact of covid-19 in a cold climate but alleviates it in a hot one.

  21. Since humans arose in Africa and only a small subset emigrated, there is nowadays a much greater variation amongst Africans than there is elsewhere (e.g. if you pick two Africans and one non-African at random, it will often be the case that the person genetically most similar to the first African is the non-African rather than the second African). So if there is anywhere in the world where we would find people espcially resistant or especially susceptible to a new disease, it would be Africa.

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