Cox counters that the lone African’s RRM2P4 sequence is identical to the Asian group, suggesting that this person probably descended from recent Asian immigrants. The team also has preliminary data on a second DNA region that shows an equally ancient split, where one group seems to be exclusively Asian.
No one gene can settle the matter, says geneticist Rosalind Harding of the University of Oxford. Nevertheless, several studies suggest that the human genome records some strikingly deep splits between populations. Her group, for example, has found that part of the gene for hemoglobin seems very old. If discoveries of ancient sequences continue to stack up, archaeogeneticists might eventually be convinced that we all have a little erectus in our blood.
This article was originally published with the title Lovers, Not Fighters?.