Traces of Neanderthal Virus DNA Found in Modern Human Genomes

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Even though the last common ancestor of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived at least 400,000 years ago, traces of our cousins can still be found in our DNA. Fragments of DNA from viruses that affected Neanderthals have been found in modern human genomes according to new research led by Emanuele Marchi from the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology, which was was published online this month in Current Biology.

Marchi’s results show that humans today have traces of Neanderthal viruses in portions of our DNA that don’t code for protein. DNA from Denisovan bone fragments was compared with genetic samples from Neanderthals and cancer patients today. The results showed that viruses that infected Neanderthals nearly half a million years ago can still be found in our genomes today, and researchers aren’t sure yet what implications that DNA may have for modern diseases like HIV and cancer.

Viral DNA that gets passed down though DNA is known as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). While ERVs make up almost a tenth of our genomes, it is found in regions that we don’t really understand. There are hints that some of these ERVs can team up to cause disease, but it requires a lot more study. Future research will seek to understand ERVs better to determine if it still has pathogenic properties and if those ancient genetic sequences can possibly be used to target treatments.

As genetic sequencing techniques continue to improve, we will continue to understand our evolutionary history more completely. By learning more about what makes us who we are, we will be able to exploit those processes to improve our quality of life while we’re here and will make it better for those who come after.

Found on: ifl science

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Scientific Proof That Our DNA Is Mutating?

The research of human DNA has recently been enjoying a huge increase of interest by a broad audience.
Modern genetic research makes it possible to trace populations and their migrations back into a distant past in order to shed some light on the mysterious origins of man. But it also holds the chance for us to eventually have a look into the future and have some hints of what the future of mankind might look like. Where’s our species going?

The idea that human DNA might consist of 12 strands instead of two – having the remaining strands to be (re)activated – or that it might evolve into having 12 strands has been making its way through the Internet and media for several years now. And while conservative scholars didn’t consider this idea noteworthy in any way, the recent stunning story of UK toddler Alfie Clamp has fueled the debate around such hypothesis again.

Gregg Prescott from in5D which we quoted already in several occasions, is convinced that the story of Alfie Clamp and a few more facts constitute scientific proof for our DNA to be mutating.

The following interview and description of facts are extracted from an article of Gregg Prescott that recently appeared on WakingTimes. Following the explicit request of Waking Times to spread the content, we’re reproduce this content for distribution and further sharing.

We are taking an evolutionary leap

Dr. Berrenda Fox is a holistic practitioner of the Avalon Wellness Centre in Mt Shasta, California. In an interview with Patricia Resch, Dr. Fox stated the following:

PR: What are the changes that are happening at this time on the planet, and how are our bodies being affected?

BF: There are major changes, mutations that haven’t occurred, according to geneticists, since the time we supposedly came out of the water. Several years ago in Mexico City there was a convention of geneticists from around the world, and the main topic was the DNA change. We are making an evolutionary change, yet we don’t know what we are changing into.

PR: How is our DNA changing?

BF: Everyone has one double helix of DNA. What we are finding is that there are other helixes that are being formed. In the double helix there are two strands of DNA coiled into a spiral. It is my understanding that we will be developing twelve helixes. During this time, which seems to have started maybe 5 to 20 years ago, we have been mutating. This is the scientific explanation. It is a mutation of our species into something for which the end result is not yet known.

The changes are not known publicly, because the scientific community feels it would frighten the population. However, people are changing at the cellular level. I am working with three children right now who have three DNA helixes. Most people know and feel this. Many religions have talked about the change and know it will come about in different ways. We know it is a positive mutation even though physically, mentally, and emotionally it can be misunderstood and frightening.

PR: Are these children displaying any characteristics different from other children?

BF: These are children who can move objects across the room just by concentrating on them, or they can fill glasses of water just by looking at them. They’re telepathic. You would almost think by knowing these children that they are half angelic or superhuman, but they’re not. I think they are what we are growing into during the next few decades.

PR: Do you think this will happen to all of us?

BF: It seems like most people who were born before 1940 have not been able to make the shift, but have initiated something into the next generation that gives them the capacity to form another helix within our lifetime. Our immune and endocrine systems are the most evident of these changes. That is one of the reasons I work with research in immunological testing and therapy.

Some adults that I have tested actually do have another DNA helix forming. Some are even getting their third. These people are going through a lot of major shifts in their consciousness and physical bodies, because it is all one. In my opinion, the Earth and everyone here is raising its vibration. Many of the children born recently have bodies that are magnetically lighter.

PR: What other changes should we expect to see?

BF: There will be no disease, we will not need to die. We will be able to learn our lessons, not through suffering, but through joy and love. The old system has to crumble away, and is not doing that without putting up a big fight. So you have all the wars; a lot of the medical-type of healing is not working; the government is not working.

Biophotons and DNA

Dr. Fritz Albert Popp’s research confirmed the existence of biophotons, which are particles of light, with no mass, that transmit information within and between cells. Dr. Popp discovered that the coherent emission of bio-photons is connected to energy and information transfer processes in the biological organisms, and has been linked to the function of DNA and to gene regulation.

In simpler terms, our bodies not only emit light, but they also store light within our DNA.

“A living cell requires energy not only for all its functions, but also for the maintenance of its structure. Without energy, life would be extinguished instantaneously, and the cellular fabric would collapse. The source of this energy is the sun’s radiation.”

Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Hungarian biochemist Albert von Szent-Györgyi

“The eyes are precisely where the solar radiation that feeds life enters the body.” – Johan Boswinkel

Four strand DNA reported by mainstream media

In a science article on NBC, ” researchers have found four-stranded DNA is also lurking in human cells. The odd structures are called G-quadruplexes because they form in regions of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that are full of guanine, one of the DNA molecule’s four building blocks, with the others being adenine, cytosine, thymine. The structure comprises four guanines held together by a type of hydrogen bonding to form a sort of squarelike shape. (The DNA molecule is itself a double strand held together by these building blocks and wrapped together like a helix.)”

“The study showed that if an inhibitor is used to block DNA replication, quadruplex levels go down – proving the idea that DNA is dynamic, with structures constantly being formed and unformed.”

Is it possible that vaccinations, chemtrails and GMO’s have been acting as DNA inhibitors up until this point in time?

Reprogramming your DNA through words and frequencies

Dr. Peter Gariaev’s research into DNA concluded that DNA may be the universal language of spirituality, adding “wave genetics” shows that DNA functions like a holographic computer, part of the larger hologram of the information wave reality. Our DNA has the capabilities of hypercommunication—telepathy, remote sensing and remote feeling, along with other psychic abilities. We also have the ability to reprogram our genetic blueprint with simple word and frequencies.

How can we change our DNA right now?

Dr Masaru Emoto’s research has concluded that water has consciousness. Based on this premise, I have decided to experiment with water, Ho’oponopono, sigils and positive affirmations.

In February of 2012, I started drinking distilled water as recommended by Andrew Norton Webber.

I also drastically changed my eating habits from your typical processed food, GMO-ladened diet to virtually all organic, including grass fed meat, fresh squeezed juices and homemade smoothies. Initially, I noticed an immediate change in my complexion as well as energy levels but after 7 months or so, I also noticed that I was losing my hair and wondered if that was attributed to drinking distilled water, so I stopped doing this but soon found something even more amazing.

After researching the benefits of ozone water, I decided to buy an ozone generator to infuse my water with extra oxygen. In addition, as per Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research into the consciousness of water, I added affirmations and Ho’oponopono.

Ho’oponopono is the Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness that follows 4 simple mantras:

1. I love you.

2. I’m sorry.

3. Please forgive me.

4. Thank you.

Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research show us that water has consciousness, so I combined Ho’oponopono with positive self-affirmations.

My affirmations are:

1. My pineal gland is fully open.

2. My chakras are clear and balanced.

3. My DNA codes are fully open to allow me to help myself and others in the best interests of humanity.

I decided to take this one step further after researching the power of sigils. A sigil is an inscribed or painted symbol considered by many to have magical powers.

Many corporate logos use symbols as a way to subconsciously influence us. A perfect example would be the Shell logo, which innocently looks like a shell, but it actually represents the sun and sun-worshipping, which preexisted before many religious belief systems.

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Exxon uses symbols and sigils as a way to represent Saturn. In astrotheology, Saturn is Satan. Did you ever wonder why we exchange rings during wedding ceremonies? The rings represent the rings of Saturn (Satan). Look no further than the pre-Christian Chritmas-time celebration of Saturnalia, which was a week of debauchery and drunkenness.

In this world of polarity and duality, the same practices can be done with pure intent.

I decided to make a sigil glass that contained all of my affirmations. This is what it looks like:

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I buy 5 gallon jugs of BPA free spring water from Zephyrhills and dispense it from a water cooler. Even my dog drinks this water! I have an ozone machine by the water dispenser.

The particular ozone machine that I use is a A2Z Ozone Aqua 6 Multi Purpose Ozone Generator because it gives me the biggest bang for the buck with a 600 mg/h ozone output.

After pouring water into my sigil glass, I speak my affirmations to the water, then I apply Ho’oponopono. I finish by saying, “Please send these messages to every cell in my body. Namaste.”

It is important to keep in mind that the ozone leaves the water relatively quickly, so your best bet is to drink it as quickly as possible. Some reports say that it only lasts up to an hour or two before dissipating.

High pitched frequencies and DNA

Many people are hearing high pitched frequencies that are not associated with tinnitus or a Vitamin D deficiency and some people believe these have something to do with a DNA upgrade.

In an In5D poll on the article, Do you hear perpetual high pitched frequencies? You’re not alone!, 97.8 people who responded confirmed hearing high pitched frequencies. Is there a spiritual reason for these frequencies and/or is it possible that they are helping to evolve our DNA?

As a musician, it’s easy for me to figure out what tones I hear, which are predominantly in the key of B, but also in F# and C. What sounds do you hear, if any?

We are beings of LIGHT

Science has proven that our DNA is evolving. In order to keep the status quo, is it possible that our vaccinations are working as inhibitors to deter this process? Despit the vaccinations, GMO’s and chemtrails, is it possible that our DNA will continue to evolve into a form of higher consciousness?

Only time will tell…

“We know today that man, essentially, is a being of light. And the modern science of photobiology is presently proving this. In terms of healing the implications are immense. We now know, for example, that quanta of light can initiate, or arrest, cascade-like reactions in the cells, and that genetic cellular damage can be virtually repaired, within hours, by faint beams of light.

We are still on the threshold of fully understanding the complex relationship between light and life, but we can now say emphatically, that the function of our entire metabolism is dependent on light.” – Dr. Fritz Albert Popp

About the Author

Gregg Prescott, M.S. is the founder and editor of In5D and BodyMindSoulSpirit. He hosts a weekly spiritual show on In5D Radio and promotes spiritual, metaphysical and esoteric conferences in the United States through In5dEvents. Gregg is currently working in collaboration with Michelle Walling, CHLC, in opening a holistic walk-in clinic called Alternative Holistic Healthcare (AHH) in Sarasota, FL with subsequent subsidiaries around the world based upon this model.

Original article

The Hybrid Hypothesis: A new theory of human origins

PART II: The Other Parent

Teiresias: To you, I am mad; but not to your parents.

Oedipus: Wait! My parents? Who are my parents?

—Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus

BY EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS (Continued from PART I) — And why might one suppose that humans are backcross hybrids of the sort just described? Well, the most obvious reason is that humans are highly similar to chimpanzees at the genetic level, closer than they are to any other animal. If we were descended from F₁ hybrids without any backcrossing we would be about halfway, genetically speaking, between chimpanzees and whatever organism was the other parent. But we’re not. Genetically, we’re close to chimpanzees, and yet we have many physical traits that distinguish us from chimpanzees. This exactly fits the backcross hypothesis.

Moreover, in mammalian hybrid crosses, the male hybrids are usually more sterile than are the females. In a commercial context, this fact means that livestock breeders typically backcross F₁ hybrids of the fertile sex back to one parent or the other. They do not, as a rule, produce new breeds by breeding the first cross hybrids among themselves. Often, even after a backcross, only the females are fertile among the resulting hybrids. So repeated backcrossing is typical. Commonly there are two or more generations of backcrossing before fertile hybrids of both sexes are obtained and the new breed can be maintained via matings among the hybrids themselves. More backcrossing tends to be necessary in cases where the parents participating in the original cross are more distantly related.

Traits distinguishing humans from other primates

Many characteristics that clearly distinguish humans from chimps have been noted by various authorities over the years. The task of preliminarily identifying a likely pair of parents, then, is straightforward: Make a list of all such characteristics and then see if it describes a particular animal. One fact, however, suggests the need for an open mind: as it turns out, many features that distinguish humans from chimpanzees also distinguish them from all other primates. Features found in human beings, but not in other primates, cannot be accounted for by hybridization of a primate with some other primate. If hybridization is to explain such features, the cross will have to be between a chimpanzee and a nonprimate — an unusual, distant cross to create an unusual creature.

The fact that even modern-day humans are relatively infertile may be significant in this connection. If a hybrid population does not die out altogether, it will tend to improve in fertility with each passing generation under the pressure of natural selection. Fossils indicate that we have had at least 200,000 years to recover our fertility since the time that the first modern humans (Homo sapiens) appeared. The earliest creatures generally recognized as human ancestors (Ardipithecus, Orrorin) date to about six million years ago. So our fertility has had a very long time to improve. If we have been recovering for thousands of generations and still show obvious symptoms of sterility (see previous section), then our earliest human ancestors, if they were hybrids, must have suffered from an infertility that was quite severe. This line of reasoning, too, suggests that the chimpanzee might have produced Homo sapiens by crossing with a genetically incompatible mate, possibly even one outside the primate order.

For the present, I ask the reader to reserve judgment concerning the plausibility of such a cross. I’m an expert on hybrids and I can assure you that our understanding of hybridization at the molecular level is still far too vague to rule out the idea of a chimpanzee crossing with a nonprimate. Anyone who speaks with certainty on this point speaks from prejudice, not knowledge. No systematic attempts to cross distantly related mammals have been reported. However, in the only animal class (Pisces) where distant crosses have been investigated scientifically, the results have been surprisingly successful (399.6, 399.7, 399.8). In fact, there seems to be absolutely nothing to support the idea that interordinal crosses (such as a cross between a primate and a nonprimate) are impossible, except what Thomas Huxley termed “the general and natural belief that deliberate and reiterated assertions must have some foundation.” Besides, to deny that interordinal mammalian crosses are possible would be to draw, at the outset of our investigation, a definite conclusion concerning the very hypothesis that we have chosen to investigate. Obviously, if humans were the product of such a cross, then such crosses would, in fact, be possible. We cannot tell, simply by supposing, whether such a thing is possible — we have to look at data.

The Other Parent

Let’s begin, then, by considering the list in the sidebar at right, which is a condensed list of traits distinguishing humans from chimpanzees — and all other nonhuman primates. Take the time to read this list and to consider what creature — of any kind — it might describe. Most of the items listed are of such an obscure nature that the reader might be hard pressed to say what animal might have them (only a specialist would be familiar with many of the terms listed, but all the necessary jargon will be defined and explained). For example, consider multipyramidal kidneys. It’s a fact that humans have this trait, and that chimpanzees and other primates do not, but the average person on the street would probably have no idea what animals do have this feature.

Looking at a subset of the listed traits, however, it’s clear that the other parent in this hypothetical cross that produced the first human would be an intelligent animal with a protrusive, cartilaginous nose, a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, short digits, and a naked skin. It would be terrestrial, not arboreal, and adaptable to a wide range of foods and environments. These traits may bring a particular creature to mind. In fact, a particular nonprimate does have, not only each of the few traits just mentioned, but every one of the many traits listed in th sidebar. Ask yourself: Is it likely that an animal unrelated to humans would possess so many of the “human” characteristics that distinguish us from primates? That is, could it be a mere coincidence? It’s only my opinion, but I don’t think so.

Of course, it must be admitted that two human traits do, at first, seem to pose a contradiction. The animal in question lacks a large brain and it is not bipedal. An analysis of the relevant anatomy, however, reveals that these two human features can be understood as synergistic (or heterotic) effects, resulting from the combination (in humans) of certain traits previously found only separately, in the two posited parent forms. (The origins of human bipedality is explained in terms of the the hybrid hypothesis in a subsequent section. Another section offers an explanation of the factors underlying human brain expansion and, therefore, accounts not only for the large size of the human brain itself, but also for certain distinctive features of the human skull that are, themselves, obvious consequences of brain expansion).

Nevertheless, even initially, these two flies in the theoretical ointment fail to obscure the remarkable fact that a single nonprimate has all of the simple, non-synergistic traits distinguishing humans from their primate kin. Such a finding is strongly consistent with the hypothesis that this particular animal once hybridized with the chimpanzee to produce the first humans. In a very simple manner, this assumption immediately accounts for a large number of facts that otherwise appear to be entirely unrelated.

What is this other animal that has all these traits? The answer is Sus scrofa, the ordinary pig. What are we to think of this fact? If we conclude that pigs did in fact cross with apes to produce the human race, then an avalanche of old ideas must crash to the earth. But, of course, the usual response to any new perspective is “That can’t be right, because I don’t already believe it.” This is the very response that many people had when Darwin first proposed that humans might be descended from apes, an idea that was perceived as ridiculous, or even as subversive and dangerous. And yet, today this exact viewpoint is widely entertained. Its wide acceptance can be attributed primarily to the established fact that humans hold many traits in common with primates. That’s what made it convincing. But perhaps Darwin told only half the story. We believe that humans are related to chimpanzees because humans share so many traits with chimpanzees. Is it not rational then also, if pigs have all the traits that distinguish humans from other primates, to suppose that humans are also related to pigs? Let us take it as our hypothesis, then, that humans are the product of ancient hybridization between pig and chimpanzee. Given the facts presented in the discussion of stabilization theory on this website, it seems highly likely that humans are hybrids of some kind. This particular hypothesis concerning the nature of our parentage is, as we shall see, a fruitful one. For the present there’s no need to make a definite decision on the matter, but certain lines of reasoning do suggest the idea should be taken seriously:

  • First of all, the notion is set forward strictly as a hypothesis. No claim whatever is made that it is actually a fact that humans somehow arose through hybridization of pigs with chimpanzees. In contrast, proponents of the idea that humans are closely related to apes (and not to pigs) often speak as if their case has been proved beyond doubt. But, of course, it has not. The wide acceptance of this idea may actually be due to the lack of any competitive theory. I merely propose an evaluation of two distinct hypotheses by the usual scientific criterion: The hypothesis less consistent with available data should be rejected.
  • Even if we could identify some objective unit of measure for “distance” or “similarity” (which is not at all a straightforward problem), we would still expect some crosses to be more distant than others — that is, the various types of possible crosses would constitute a continuum. Many would be “close” and some would be “distant.” But we would expect at least a rare few to be very distant. While these few might be rare, they might be among the most interesting, because they would offer an opportunity to obtain something radically different. Perhaps, it is only a subjective bias, but I believe that a human being, when taken as a whole, is radically different from a chimpanzee.
  • On the other hand, if we first compare humans with nonmammals or invertebrates (e.g, crocodile, bullfrog, octopus, dragonfly, starfish), then pigs and chimpanzees suddenly seem quite similar to humans. Relative impressions of “close” and “far” are subjective and depend on context.
  • Pigs and chimpanzees differ in chromosome counts. The opinion is often expressed that when two animals differ in this way, they cannot produce fertile hybrids. This rule is, however, only a generalization. While such differences do tend to have an adverse effect on the fertility of hybrid offspring, it is also true that many different types of crosses in which the parents differ in chromosome counts produce hybrids that are themselves capable of producing offspring. As Annie P. Gray notes in the preface to her reference work Mammalian Hybrids (1972, p. viii), in her extensive work compiling information about hybrid mammals, “no close correlation was found between the chromosome count or the duration of gestation and the ability of species to hybridize.”
  • There have been no systematic, scientific surveys of the crossability of mammals belonging to different taxonomic orders (a cross between pig and chimpanzee would be interordinal). Any firm opinion on such a point must therefore, necessarily, be prejudiced. In fact, there is substantial evidence on this website supporting the idea that very distantly related mammals can mate and produce a hybrid (see the section on mammalian hybrids and, in particular, look at the videos shown there of ostensible rabbit-cat hybrids). In addition, certain fishes belonging to different orders have been successfully crossed, and available information on mammalian hybrids indicates that very distant crosses among mammals, too, have occurred. For example, evidence published in the journal Nature demonstrates that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes (223.2). As Frank Grützner, the lead author of the study, stated in a related news story, “The platypus actually links the bird sex chromosome system with the mammalian sex chromosome systems.” How could this be the case if a bird and a mammal did not at some time in the past hybridize to produce a fertile hybrid? Such a cross would, of course, be even more distant than one between a chimpanzee and a pig. And seemingly, a cross between a primate and a pig did occur only a few years ago, in 2008.
  • Ultimately, the interaction of gametes at the time of fertilization, and the subsequent interplay of genes (derived from two different types of parents) during the course of a hybrid’s development cannot be predicted by any known laws because the interaction is between a multitude of extremely complex chemical entities that each have an effect on others. It is for this reason that the degree of similarity perceived between two organisms is no sure indicator of their crossability.
  • Another suggestive fact, probably known to the reader, is the frequent use of pigs in the surgical treatment of human beings. Pig heart valves are used to replace those of human coronary patients. Pig skin is used in the treatment of human burn victims. Serious efforts are now underway to transplant kidneys and other organs from pigs into human beings. Why are pigs suited for such purposes? Why not goats, dogs, or bears — animals that, in terms of taxonomic classification, are no more distantly related to human beings than pigs? (In subsequent sections, these issues are considered in detail.)
  • God did not place pigs and humans in different taxonomic orders. Taxonomists did. A great deal of evidence (read a discussion of this topic) exists to suggest that taxonomists are, in no way, infallible. Our ideas concerning the proper categorization of animals are shaped by bias and tradition to such an extent that it would be rash to reject, solely on taxonomic grounds, the feasibility of such a cross.
  • The general examination of the process of evolution as a whole (as presented elsewhere on this site) strongly suggests that most forms of life are of hybrid origin. Why should humans be any different?
  • It might seem unlikely that a pig and a chimpanzee would choose to mate, but their behavior patterns and reproductive anatomy do, in fact, make them compatible (this topic is considered in detail in a subsequent section). It is, of course, a well-established fact that animals sometimes attempt to mate with individuals that are unlike themselves, even in a natural setting, and that many of these crosses successfully produce hybrid offspring.
  • Accepted theory, which assumes that humans have been gradually shaped by natural selection for traits favorable to reproduction, does not begin to account for the relative infertility of human beings in comparison with nonhuman primates and other types of animals (see previous section). How would natural selection ever produce abnormal, dysfunctional spermatozoa? On the other hand, the idea that humans are descended from a hybrid cross — especially a relatively distant cross — provides a clear explanation for Homo’s puzzling and persistent fertility problems.
  • If we supposed standard theory to be correct, it would seem most peculiar that pigs and humans share features that distinguish human beings from chimpanzees, but that pigs and chimpanzees should not. Conventional theory (which assumes that pigs are equally as far removed from humans as from chimpanzees) says that pigs and chimpanzees would share about as many such traits as would pigs and humans. And yet, I have never been able to identify any such trait—despite assiduous investigation. The actual finding is that traits distinguishing chimpanzees from humans consistently link pigs with humans alone. It will be difficult to account in terms of natural selection for this fact. For each such feature, we will have to come up with a separate ad hoc argument, explaining how the feature has helped both pigs and humans to survive and reproduce. On the other hand, a single, simple assumption (that modern humans, or earlier hominids that gave rise to modern humans, arose from a cross between pig and chimpanzee) will account for all of these features at a single stroke.

or my own part, curiosity has carried me away from my old idea of reality. I no longer know what to believe. Is it possible that so many biologists might be wrong about the nature of human origins? Is it possible for a pig to hybridize with a chimpanzee? I have no way of knowing at present, but I have no logical or evidential basis for rejecting the idea. Before dismissing such a notion, I would want to be sure on some logical, evidentiary basis that I actually should dismiss it. The ramifications of any misconception on this point seem immense. As Huxley put it long ago, “The question of questions for mankind — the problem which underlies all others, and is more deeply interesting than any other —is the ascertainment of the place which Man occupies in nature.”

Are we simply another type of primate, like the chimpanzee or the baboon? Or are we a complex melange, an alloy of two very distinct forms of life? These are questions that can only be resolved by examining the evidence. I invite the reader to consider these two possibilities as simple hypotheses, to consider the data coldly, and then to determine which of the two is more consistent with available evidence.

…to be continued

You can read the full article at  Macroevolution.net

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Human Origins: Are we hybrids?

BY EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS

PART I
This article is a little different from others on this site, because it’s about the findings of my own research. I’m a geneticist whose work focuses on hybrids and, particularly, the role of hybridization in the evolutionary process. Here, I report certain facts, which seem to indicate that human origins can be traced to hybridization, specifically to hybridization involving the chimpanzee (but not the kind of hybridization you might suppose!). You can access detailed and documented discussions supporting this claim from links on this page. But I’ll summarize the basic reasoning here, without a lot of citations and footnotes. (If you would like to read an even briefer summary, click here; read about some objections to the theory here; also, a recent news story).

Rationale

So why do I think humans are hybrids? Well, first of all, I’ve had a different experience from most people. I’ve spent most of my life (the last thirty years) studying hybrids, particularly avian and mammalian hybrids. I’ve read thousands, really tens of thousands, of reports describing them. And this experience has dispelled some mistaken ideas I once had about hybrids, notions that I think many other people continue to take for granted.

For example, one widespread, but erroneous, belief is that all hybrids are sterile. This idea keeps a lot of people from even considering the possibility that humans might be of hybrid origin. This assertion is absolutely false — though I have in fact heard lots of people make it. For instance, in reviewing the reports I collected for my book on hybridization in birds (Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press, 2006), which documents some 4,000 different kinds of hybrid crosses among birds, I found that those crosses producing partially fertile hybrids are about eight times as common as crosses known to produce sterile ones. The usual result is a reduction in fertility, not absolute sterility. My current work documenting hybridization among mammals shows that partially fertile natural hybrids are common, too, in Class Mammalia. And yet, it seems most people base their ideas of hybrids on the common mule (horse x ass), which is an exceptionally sterile hybrid, and not at all representative of hybrids as a whole.

I should, perhaps, also mention that differences in parental chromosome counts, even rather large ones, do not preclude the production of fertile hybrids. While differences of this sort do bode ill for the fertility of the resulting progeny, it is only a rule of thumb. For example, female geeps, the products of hybridization between sheep (2n=54) and goats (2n=60), can produce offspring in backcrosses. Likewise, female zeedonks (Burchell’s Zebra, 2n=44 x Ass, 2n=62) have also been fertile in backcrosses. There are many other examples of this sort among mammalian hybrids. Therefore, such differences between the parents in a cross do not in any way guarantee an absolute sterility in the hybrid offspring. (For those readers who do not know, backcross hybrids are produced when hybrids from a first cross mate with either of the two types of parents that produced them. When the resulting progeny mate again with the same parental type, the result is the second backcross generation, and so forth.)

A second so-called fact, which might make it seem impossible for humans to have had a hybrid origin, is the equally erroneous notion that hybrids, especially successful hybrids, do not occur in a state of nature. A third is the mistaken idea that only plants hybridize, and never animals. In fact, however, natural, viable, fertile animal hybrids are abundant. A wide variety of such hybrids occur on an ongoing basis (read a detailed discussion documenting these facts). For example, of the 5,000 different types of hybrid crosses listed in my book on hybridization in birds, approximately half are known to occur in a natural setting (download a PowerPoint presentation summarizing data on hybridization in birds). My current research indicates a comparable rate for mammals.

Sequence data. And I must now emphasize a fact that I, as a geneticist, find somewhat disappointing: With nucleotide sequence data, it can be very difficult to identify later-generation backcross hybrids derived from several repeated generations of backcrossing (to understand the basic problem, see diagram at right). Instead, as is the case with other later-generation backcross hybrids, the most revealing data is of an anatomical and/or physiological nature. And this is exactly the kind of hybrid that it looks like we are — that is, it appears that humans are the result of multiple generations of backcrossing to the chimpanzee.

The thing that makes backcross hybrids hard to analyze using genetic techniques is that, in terms of nucleotide sequences, they can differ very little from the parent to which backcrossing occurs. It’s important to realize, however, that a lack of such differences does not prevent them from differing anatomically. Sequence differences are not necessary for anatomical differences to be present. An obvious example of this phenomenon is Down’s syndrome. Individuals affected by Down’s regularly exhibit certain distinctive anatomical features, and yet in terms of their nucleotide sequences they do not differ in any way from other humans. To detect someone with Down’s syndrome, sequence data is completely useless. But with anatomical data, detecting affected individuals is easy. This issue is discussed in more detail in a subsequent section. But for the present, take a careful look at the diagram explaining the genomic effects of backcrossing (at right above).

Human infertility. Another observation that appears significant in connection with the hypothesis under consideration is that it has been well known for decades that human sperm is abnormal in comparison with that of the typical mammal. Human spermatozoa are not of one uniform type as in the vast majority of all other types of animals. Moreover, human sperm is not merely abnormal in appearance — a high percentage of human spermatozoa are actually dysfunctional. These and other facts demonstrate that human fertility is low in comparison with that of other mammals (for detailed documentation of this fact see the article Evidence of Human Infertility). Infertility and sperm abnormalities are characteristic of hybrids. So this finding suggests that it’s reasonable to suppose, at least for the sake of argument, that humans might be of hybrid origin. It is also consistent with the idea that the hybridization in question was between two rather distinct and genetically incompatible types of animals, that is, it was a distant cross.

Methodology. The chimpanzee is plausible in the role of one of the parents that crossed to produce the human race because they are generally recognized as being closest to humans in terms of their genetics (here, I use the term chimpanzee loosely to refer to either the common chimpanzee or to the bonobo, also known as the pygmy chimpanzee; the specific roles of these two rather similar apes within the context of the present hypothesis will be explained in a subsequent section). But then the question arises: If an ancient cross between the chimpanzee and some parental form “X” produced the first humans, then what was that parent? Does it still exist? What was it like?

As the reader might imagine, if the assumption is correct that one of our parents is the chimpanzee, then it should be possible actually to identify the other parent as well. A hybrid combines traits otherwise seen only separately in the two parental forms from which it is derived, and it is typically intermediate to those parents with respect to a wide range of characters. Naturalists routinely use these facts to identify the parents of hybrids of unknown origin, even backcross hybrids.

First they posit a particular type of organism as similar to the putative hybrid (in the present case, this organism is the chimpanzee). They then list traits distinguishing the hybrid from the hypothesized parent, and this list of distinguishing traits will describe the second parent. A detailed analysis of such a triad will often establish the parentage of the hybrid. The traits in question in such studies are generally anatomical, not genetic. DNA evidence is used in only a very small percentage of such identifications (and even then, rarely in efforts to identify backcross hybrids), and yet firm conclusions can generally be reached.

So in the specific case of humans, if the two assumptions made thus far are correct (i.e., (1) that humans actually are hybrids, and (2) that the chimpanzee actually is one of our two parents), then a list of traits distinguishing human beings from chimpanzees should describe the other parent involved in the cross. And by applying this sort of methodology, I have in fact succeeded in narrowing things down to a particular candidate. That is, I looked up every human distinction that I could find and, so long as it was cited by an expert (physical anthropologist, anatomist, etc), I put it on a list. And that list, which includes many, many traits (see the lengthy table on the right-hand side of the next page), consistently describes a particular animal.

PART II

 

Link

Scientists discover DNA body clock

A U.S. scientist has discovered an internal body clock based on DNA that measures the biological age of our tissues and organs.