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Archaic Introgression Shaped Human Circadian Traits

This Club EvMed event occurred on January 29, 2024. Learn more about Club EvMed at

This conversation was led by Dr. Tony Capra & Dr. Keila Velazquez-Arcelay.

Interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals created the potential for adaptive introgression as humans moved into environments that had been populated by Neanderthals for hundreds of thousands of years. In this talk, we will describe lineage-specific genetic differences in circadian genes and their regulatory elements between humans and Neanderthals. We will then show that introgressed alleles are enriched for effects on circadian gene regulation, consistently increase the propensity for morningness in Europeans, and show evidence of adaptive introgression or associations between latitude and frequency. These results expand our understanding of how the genomes of humans and our closest relatives responded to environments with different light/dark cycles. They also demonstrate a coordinated contribution of admixture to human chronotype in a direction that is consistent with adaptation to higher latitudes.

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