Rxivist logo

Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 57,822 bioRxiv papers from 266,142 authors.

Changes in gene regulation are broadly accepted as key drivers of phenotypic differences between closely related species. However, identifying regulatory changes that shaped human-specific traits is a challenging task. Here, we use >60 DNA methylation maps of ancient and present-day human groups, as well as six chimpanzees, to detect regulatory changes that emerged in modern humans after the split from Neanderthals and Denisovans. We show that genes affecting vocalization and facial features went through particularly extensive methylation changes. Specifically, we identify silencing patterns in a network of genes (SOX9, ACAN, COL2A1 and NFIX), and propose that they might have played a role in the reshaping of human facial morphology, and in forming the 1:1 vocal tract configuration that is considered optimal for speech. Our results provide insights into the molecular mechanisms that might underlie vocal and facial evolution, and suggest that they arose after the split from Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Download data

  • Downloaded 4,693 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 416 out of 57,822
    • In genomics: 113 out of 4,058
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 3,151 out of 57,822
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 1,766 out of 57,822

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide

Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)