Which Populations Have the Highest Neanderthal DNA?
Updated on March 1, 2024
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Which Populations Have the Highest Neanderthal DNA?

Neanderthal genes are present in many modern-day people, a fascinating legacy of ancient interbreeding.

Genetic testing services like 23andMe provide insights into how much Neanderthal DNA an individual carries. While most people fall around a 2.5% average, some outliers possess significantly higher percentages.

Which Populations Have the Highest Neanderthal DNA? 2

23andMe’s Neanderthal DNA Reports

23andMe analyzes your DNA and offers insights into your Neanderthal ancestry, including:

  • Neanderthal Percentage – The average 23andMe user has around 2.5% Neanderthal DNA, but there are individuals with much higher percentages.
  • Neanderthal Variants – The number of Neanderthal gene variants you carry also indicates how much Neanderthal DNA you possess. Some users report having hundreds of variants.
  • Percentile Scores – 23andMe compares your Neanderthal DNA to other users. For example, having more Neanderthal DNA than 95% of customers means you’re in the top 5%. Keep in mind that these scores can change over time as the database grows.

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Finding the Highest Percentages

23andMe doesn’t publicly reveal the absolute highest Neanderthal DNA percentage among its users. However, you can get a sense of these outliers through sources like:

  • User Communities – Places like online forums or this Reddit thread offer anecdotal information
  • Research Studies – Sometimes, scientific studies investigating Neanderthal ancestry may mention individuals with exceptionally high percentages

Neanderthal DNA and You

While knowing your Neanderthal DNA percentage is intriguing, it doesn’t directly impact your health. However, research suggests some Neanderthal genes may influence traits like:

  • Hair and skin variations
  • Immune system responses
  • Even odd things like sneezing after eating dark chocolate

Important Notes:

  • Evolving Information – Understanding of Neanderthal ancestry is constantly evolving as new studies emerge
  • Individuality – The percentage of Neanderthal DNA and its effects vary between individuals

Though there’s no single answer to “What’s the highest Neanderthal DNA percentage on 23andMe?”, the service provides valuable insights into your ancient heritage. The variations among individuals highlight the complex history of human evolution and our shared ancestry with other hominid species.

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Updated on March 1, 2024
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.