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I've heard most non-subsaharan africans have neanderthal DNA with it being more prevalent in northern regions, that sometimes 1-4% of the DNA has neanderthal origins.

Speaking strictly scientifically, would it be possible through selective breeding to breed an individual where the majority of the DNA is neanderthal?

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No, it is not. As you said only 1-4% of non-subsaharan africans' genome is from Neanderthal and it is more or less the same sequences. The entire Neanderthal genome is not present in modern day humans, it is only a small set of sequences.

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  • $\begingroup$ only 1-4% of non-subsaharan africans' genome is from Neanderthal and it is more or less the same sequences More "more" than "less". A 2014 study Resurrecting Surviving Neandertal Lineages from Modern Human Genomes identified around 20% of the Neandertal genome out of just 665 modern humans; presumably a larger and more varied population would pull out more than 20%. Probably somewhat less than half the original genome, though. $\endgroup$ – iayork Jul 18 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ I'm more than a little puzzled here, since numerous sources state that humans share about 96% of their genome with chimpanzees. (Or 99% per this: sciencemag.org/news/2012/06/… ) It would seem that Neanderthals ought to share at least that much with modern humans, no? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jul 18 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ Do apes and humans share 99% of DNA or 99% of genes? What is the difference? (particularly the answer by @rg255). Summary, the Neanderthal genome in humans is alleles while the >99% similarity is in terms of DNA. $\endgroup$ – iayork Jul 19 at 16:57
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Selective breeding will select for genetics that are already present in your population, but won't introduce new DNA sequences that aren't carried by any of the population members. It would technically be possible if everyone carried a different 1-4% of the Neanderthal genome, since it would be possible to reconstruct the full Neanderthal genome by creative combinations of DNA that exists in the population. That's not the case, though, it will be a fairly consistent set of regions for which you can substitute Neanderthal DNA for homo sapien DNA and still have a functional human.

So no, this isn't possible - the complete genome of Neanderthals doesn't exist split among the human population, so it can't be refined to be complete through selective breeding.

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protected by Bryan Krause Jul 19 at 15:31

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