Do you know the place in western Asia where humans first inter-bred?

New Delhi: Neanderthals is the place in western Asia where humans first inter-bred and had sexual encounters with different hominid species, claims a study.

The findings suggest that the relations that our ancestors had with Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago may continue to exert an influence on our well being today.

When the ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa, they passed through the Middle East and Turkey before heading deeper into Asia and Europe.

The research, published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, analysed the genetic material of people living in the region today and identified DNA sequences inherited from Neanderthals.

“As far as human history goes, this area was the stepping stone for the peopling of all of Eurasia,” said Omer Gokcumen, Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences in New York.

“This is where humans first settled when they left Africa. It may be where they first met Neanderthals. From the standpoint of genetics, it`s a very interesting region,” Gokcumen added.

The scientists analysed genomes belonging to people of Turkish descent.

“Within these genomes, the areas where we see relatively common Neanderthal introgression are in genes related to metabolism and immune system responses,” said first author of the study Recep Ozgur Taskent, a PhD candidate at the University at Buffalo.