An international research team analyzed the genes that affect the shape of the face. More than 6,000 volunteers from Latin America have become participants, according to phys.org. The researchers examined the photographs of the participants, measuring 59 parameters for each profile. They ended up identifying 32 regions of genes that affect facial features such as the nose, lips, jaw and eyebrow shape.
One of the genes, apparently, was inherited by humans from the Denisovans - a group of ancient people who died out about 50,000 years ago. This gene is TBX15 and affects the shape of the lips. Scientists suggest that this gene is also associated with the distribution of body fat, it helped Denisovans survive in cold climates. When Denisovans and modern people met and crossed, the gene passed to the latter.
This is the first time that a genetic link with ancient people has been found in the faces of modern people, and it happened because scientists went beyond the scope of Eurocentric research: modern Europeans do not carry Denisovans DNA, but their genes were preserved in the inhabitants of the Pacific Islands and the indigenous inhabitants of America.
In addition, the researchers found the VPS13B gene in the participants, which affects the acuity of the nose. The same gene also determines the structure of the nose in mice. This finding is confirmation that even distantly related mammalian species share a common genetic basis. The research is published in the journal Science Advances.