Women who inherited Neanderthal genes are more fertile

Hyperaxion Jun 7, 2020

One in three women in Europe has the genetic variant associated with increased fertility, as well as less bleeding in early pregnancy and fewer miscarriages.

A study by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that women who have Neanderthal genes are more fertile. The article was published in May in the scientific journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Women who inherited Neanderthal genes are more fertile
(Credit: Creative Commons).

The team of researchers showed that one in three women in Europe inherited the progesterone receptor from Neanderthals. This genetic variant is associated with increased fertility, as well as less bleeding in early pregnancy and decreased chance of pregnancy loss.

“The progesterone receptor is an example of how favourable genetic variants that were introduced into modern humans by mixing with Neandertals can have effects in people living today,” says Hugo Zeberg, one of the study’s authors, in a note.

And it doesn’t stop there: biological analyzes of more than 244,000 participants also show that at least 29% of European women carry one copy of the receptor and 3% have two copies.

“The proportion of women who inherited this gene is about ten times greater than for most Neandertal gene variants. These findings suggest that the Neandertal variant of the receptor has a favourable effect on fertility,” says the researcher.

Finally, the study suggests that learning more about this topic can help researchers and doctors more accurately diagnose women who may have complications during pregnancy.

Related topics:

Neanderthals

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