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Story on human genetic origins is one of EurekAlert!’s most-visited releases in 2011

A striking discovery in the study of human genetics was the focus of the most-visited press release posted on EurekAlert! in 2011. Researchers found that part of the non-African human X chromosome came from Neanderthals, confirming that they interbred with early human populations.

Breakthroughs in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and medicine, along with discoveries in zoology, psychology, and astrobiology, were also featured in the 10 releases most often viewed by EurekAlert! readers in 2011.

Website statistics collected over the course of the year identified the year's 10 most-visited news releases. The No. 1 most-visited press release garnered over 102,000 views.

The (love) connection between early humans and Neanderthals described in 2011's most-visited news release

Researchers from the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center answered a nearly 10-year-old question concerning the origin of a part of the human X chromosome that shows characteristics different from the rest of the chromosome.

Using the Neanderthal genome, which was sequenced in 2010, to compare with the human genome, researchers found a match. The mysterious piece of the human X chromosome's sequence matches the Neanderthal's. From this, the researchers conclude that all non-African humans are in part descended from Neanderthals.

The finding was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Uncovering new ground in medical and health sciences

Major advances in the health and medical sciences again drew significant attention from EurekAlert! readers in 2011.

In the tenth most-visited press release, Carnegie Mellon researchers replicated the hemoglobin protein from woolly mammoths. Their work may assist in developing blood products for people undergoing surgery-induced hypothermia, making such medical procedures safer.

The Mayo Clinic reported

Contact: Jennifer Santisi
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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