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Science Briefing

Neanderthal gene map 60% done

February 14, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Scientists said they have sequenced more than 60% of the Neanderthal genome. Preliminary results confirm that Neanderthals, humanity's closest relative, contributed very little to the gene pool of modern humans. It also confirms that humans and Neanderthals had the same variant of the FOXP2 gene known to play a role in speech.

"We cannot say from this they could speak. We can just say there is no reason to assume they couldn't," said Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

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