High-altitude help from extinct ancestors

Gene mutation passed on from long-extinct Neandertal ‘cousins’ seems to help modern Tibetans survive at high altitudes

By Stephen Ornes, 13:11 PM July 24, 2014

Tibet has been called the “roof of the world.” It’s a vast region in southwest China that sits on the highest plateau on Earth. It's cold and dry. What’s more, its air has 40 percent less oxygen than does the air at sea level. That should make it difficult for people to live there. But Tibetans comfortably survive such extreme conditions. And it’s due in part to an ancient genetic gift from their ancestors. These were amazingly ancient ancestors, a new study finds. Those long-extinct folk wer...

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