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Ancient gene aids Tibetans with high altitude

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Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 11:51 am | Updated: 1:15 pm, Wed Jul 2, 2014.

NEW YORK — Tibetans living on the “roof of the world” can thank an extinct human relative for providing a gene that helps them adapt to the high altitude, a study suggests.

Past research has concluded that a particular gene helps people live in the thin air of the Tibetan plateau. Now scientists report that the Tibetan version of that gene is found in DNA from Denisovans, a poorly understood human relative more closely related to Neanderthals than modern people.

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