Gene from Extinct Humans Helps Tibetans Breathe Easy

Gene from Extinct Humans Helps Tibetans Breathe Easy

The genetic adaptation that allows Tibetans to survive and live comfortably at altitudes that would make most other humans on Earth terribly sick came from an extinct species of human. The variant of the EPAS-1 gene carried by nearly 90 percent of Tibetans closely matches that of the extinct Denisovan people. This gene is involved in regulating hemoglobin production and helps the body produce enough red blood cells to cope with low oxygen levels but not so many as to dangerously thicken the blood. The findings suggest that at some point in the history of the Tibetan people, their ancestors mated with Denisovans, thereby acquiring this adaptation. More… Discuss

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