The Philippine ethnic group known as Ayta Magbukon has been found to be the modern-day people with the most Denisovan DNA in the world.
The researchers in Sweden have found that Philippine Negrito ethnic group known as the Ayta Magbukon has the highest level of Denisovan ancestry today.
As per the study published in cell.com Ayta Magbukon people in Philippines’ Bataan Peninsula have more Denisovan DNA than the Papuan Highlanders, who were previously seen as present-day population with the highest level of Denisovan ancestry.
The experts have said that the Ayta Magbukon people have 5 per cent Denisovan ancestry which was around 30 to 40 per cent greater than that of Papuans and Australians. The Denisovans are a group of extinct hominins that diverged from Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago with their remains mostly discovered at the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia.
The DNA analysis has shown these ancient people were widespread across Asia and Denisovans and Neanderthals bred with humans around 50,000 years ago. The scientists have found that Denisovans interbred with modern humans in the distant past, but the new study identifies the Ayta Magbukon people as the humans with ‘the most Denisovan DNA’.
Study author Maximilian Larena, from Uppsala University in Sweden, said that the “Philippine Negritos were recently admixed with East Asian-related groups – who carry little Denisovan ancestry, and which consequently diluted their levels of Denisovan ancestry.” (AW)