Home Photography Events Perhaps you possess the characteristics of a morning person due to your Neanderthal DNA.

Perhaps you possess the characteristics of a morning person due to your Neanderthal DNA.

Perhaps you possess the characteristics of a morning person due to your Neanderthal DNA.

It’s strange to think of how our daily life would have been affected by the daily actions of Neanderthals, given how long ago they lived. However, a recent study found that portion of our DNA has the circadian rhythms of Neanderthals, which are internal clocks that control our waking and sleeping hours. This suggests that certain modern humans’ sleeping patterns may have been influenced by the “early to bed, early to rise” practices of the Neanderthals, who were able to maximize daylight-hunting hours and adjust to seasonal variations in high latitudes. These rituals date back tens of thousands of years.

Three research concerns were investigated by biologists and geneticists at Vanderbilt University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California, San Francisco. In the first, the existence of “circadian genes” in Neanderthal DNA was examined; in the second, it was determined whether or not contemporary humans inherited these genes. The third investigated if the lifestyle choices of their modern bearers were impacted by ancient circadian genes.

Archaic DNA included 28 circadian genes, according to research published in a publication for Genome Biology and Evolution. 16 of these circadian genes were able to pass through the evolutionary process when Neanderthals interbred with African and Eurasian Homo sapiens. However, this does not prove that the 16 genes that survived were linked to earlier sleep schedules.

Using the UK Biobank, the researchers examined the DNA of hundreds of thousands of contemporary humans in order to test this. 500,000 people’s anonymous genetic, lifestyle, and health data are included in this biomedical database. It’s important to recognize the limitations of the UK Biobank: Its participants are “more likely to be older, to be female, and to live in less socioeconomically deprived areas than nonparticipants,” in addition to the fact that the data is limited to UK citizens. However, the scientists discovered a correlation between early waking hours and archaic circadian genes.

Even among those who do, the Neanderthal genes only make up a minuscule portion of the current human DNA. Modern people wake up for a variety of reasons as well, including job, school, family responsibilities, health issues, personal choice, noisy neighbors, and more. Because of this, it’s difficult to prove that anything like Neanderthal DNA causes humans to wake up early today, while it might make the process a little bit simpler for some.


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