Gene from Neanderthals increases the severity of coronavirus disease – research

Researchers Svante Paabo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Germany) and Hugo Seberg from the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) have identified another genetic factor associated with Neanderthal heritage that affects the severity of COVID-19.

Their work is published on the bioRxiv preprint server.

“Here we show that 2-8% of people in Eurasia carry the variant promoter region of the DPP4 gene inherited from Neanderthals. This gene encodes an enzyme that which serves as a receptor for the MERS-CoV coronavirus (causing Middle East respiratory syndrome – IF) and is not currently considered a SARS-CoV-2 receptor. However, the Neanderthal variant of DPP4 doubles the risk of severe COVID-19 disease, “the researchers said.

DPP4 is an enzyme that degrades a number of biologically active peptides; it is involved in several physiological systems, including the regulation of glucose metabolism. At the same time, the researchers note, DPP4 inhibitors are used to treat diabetes and are believed to affect the severity of COVID-19 disease.

In September, Paabo and Zeberg identified a Neanderthal haplotype cluster (cluster) of six genes on the third chromosome , which is associated with a higher risk of respiratory failure in patients infected with coronavirus, and, conversely, the protective regions on chromosomes 9 and 12, also inherited from Neanderthals.

According to researchers, the Neanderthal haplotype is found in about 16% inhabitants of Europe and half of the population of South Asia. The inhabitants of Africa and East Asia do not have these genes.

According to researchers, the prevalence of a certain Neanderthal group of genes is especially high among the inhabitants of Bangladesh, where about 63% of the inhabitants are carriers of this haplotype.

How it was reported that paleogenetic studies have shown that modern inhabitants of Eurasia inherited from 2% to 4% of genes from Neanderthals. According to the hypothesis of the multiregional formation of modern humans, all the subspecies of ancient people that served as a basis for him, including the Denisovans, Neanderthals and the hypothetical “Eastern man” who lived in Southeast Asia, are descendants of Homo erectus – “Homo erectus.” /p>

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