Some days DNA is just such fun. My cousin, Marja, Facebooked me and suggested that I check and see if I carried the Neanderthal SNP for heightened smell. Now, being a DNA junkie, of course, I had to do just that.
It turns out that our DNA location Rs6591536, if coded with G, increases our odor sensitivity – a characteristic shared by our Neanderthal cousins.
I would certainly think that heightened smell would enhance chances of survival. Although, in contemporary society, I’m not sure heightened smell is that much of a blessing. Floral is fine, some others odors aren’t and heightened sensitivity to smell knows no boundaries. To me, some smells are simply overwhelming – like a candle or potpourri shop, or someone who took a bath in perfume, for example. On the other hand, there is just nothing that compares to lavender.
To find out, I checked my raw data files. In fact, I checked both mine and my mother’s raw data files. Let’s take a look.
This shows that Mom carried nucleotides AA and I carry AG. G provides me with the enhanced odor sensitivity. Clearly, Mom didn’t have a G to give me, so this tells me that I received this trait from my father, not my mother. So something I share with my Dad.
Hmmm, now that I think of it, the flowers on my desk have passed their prime….I can tell by the way they smell!
Marja is preparing a presentation related to Neanderthal DNA. I love this type of exploratory science. I hope that she will present her findings in November at the Genetic Genealogy Conference in Houston. It’s fun getting to know yourself, your parents, and your Neanderthal cousins.
Curious about how much and which specific DNA locations you might carry from our Neanderthal ancestors? You’re in luck, courtesy of Marja and SNPedia….here’s a list.