We present a high-quality genome sequence of a Neanderthal woman from Siberia. We show that her parents were related at the level of half-siblings and that mating among close relatives was common among her recent ancestors. We also sequenced the genome of a Neanderthal from the Caucasus to low coverage. An analysis of the relationships and population history of available archaic genomes and 25 present-day human genomes shows that several gene flow events occurred among Neanderthals, Denisovans and early modern humans, possibly including gene flow into Denisovans from an unknown archaic group. Thus, interbreeding, albeit of low magnitude, occurred among many hominin groups in the Late Pleistocene. In addition, the high-quality Neanderthal genome allows us to establish a definitive list of substitutions that became fixed in modern humans after their separation from the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

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European Nucleotide Archive

Data deposits

All sequence data have been submitted to the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) and are available under the following accessions: Altai Neanderthal: ERP002097, Mezmaiskaya Neanderthal: ERP002447. The data from the 25 present-day human genomes and 13 experimentally phased present-day genomes are available as a public dataset from http://aws.amazon.com/datasets/ and from http://cdna.eva.mpg.de/neandertal/altai/.


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We thank M. Hammer, C. Winkler and W. Klitz for sharing DNA samples; W. Huttner and his group, B. Peter, J. G. Schraiber and M. A. Yang for helpful discussions; and A. Lewis and R. Qiu for technical assistance. N.P. and D.R. are grateful for the chance to discuss these results with Peter Waddell who independently found evidence of a deeply diverged hominin admixing into the Denisova genome. D.R. and E.E.E. are Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. D.R. and N.P. were supported by NSF grant number 1032255 and NIH grant GM100233; E.E.E. by NIH grant HG002385; J.S. by grant HG006283 from the National Genome Research Institute (NHGRI); S.S. by a post-doctoral fellowship from the Harvard University Science of the Human Past Program; F.J. and M.S. in part by a grant from the NIH (R01-GM40282); P.H.S. by an HHMI International Student Fellowship. We thank the team at the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center and Alice Young in particular, for generating some of the sequence reported here. This research was supported in part by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Major funding support came from the Presidential Innovation Fund of the Max Planck Society.

Author information

Author notes

    • Ines Hellmann

    Present address: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Martinsried, 82152 Munich, Germany.


  1. Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

    • Kay Prüfer
    • , Susanna Sawyer
    • , Anja Heinze
    • , Gabriel Renaud
    • , Cesare de Filippo
    • , Michael Dannemann
    • , Qiaomei Fu
    • , Martin Kircher
    • , Martin Kuhlwilm
    • , Michael Lachmann
    • , Matthias Meyer
    • , Matthias Ongyerth
    • , Michael Siebauer
    • , Christoph Theunert
    • , Janet Kelso
    •  & Svante Pääbo
  2. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3140, USA

    • Fernando Racimo
    • , Flora Jay
    •  & Montgomery Slatkin
  3. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA

    • Nick Patterson
    • , Sriram Sankararaman
    • , Heng Li
    • , Swapan Mallick
    • , Arti Tandon
    •  & David Reich
  4. Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

    • Sriram Sankararaman
    • , Swapan Mallick
    • , Arti Tandon
    • , Priya Moorjani
    • , Joseph Pickrell
    •  & David Reich
  5. Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

    • Peter H. Sudmant
    • , Martin Kircher
    • , Jacob O. Kitzman
    • , Jay Shendure
    •  & Evan E. Eichler
  6. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China

    • Qiaomei Fu
  7. Genome Technology Branch and NIH Intramural Sequencing Center, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA

    • James C. Mullikin
  8. Department of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA

    • Samuel H. Vohr
    •  & Richard E. Green
  9. Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Mathematics and Bioscience Group, Campus Vienna Biocenter 5, Vienna 1030, Austria

    • Ines Hellmann
  10. Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA

    • Philip L. F. Johnson
  11. Fondation Jean Dausset, Centre d'Étude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH), 75010 Paris, France

    • Hélène Blanche
    •  & Howard Cann
  12. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

    • Evan E. Eichler
  13. Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, Washington 98103, USA

    • Ed S. Lein
    •  & Trygve E. Bakken
  14. ANO Laboratory of Prehistory 14 Linia 3-11, St. Petersburg 1990 34, Russia

    • Liubov V. Golovanova
    •  & Vladimir B. Doronichev
  15. Palaeolithic Department, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia

    • Michael V. Shunkov
    •  & Anatoli P. Derevianko
  16. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

    • Bence Viola
  17. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

    • David Reich


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S.Saw., A.H. and Q.F. performed the experiments; K.P., F.R., N.P., F.J., S.San., S.Saw., A.H., G.R., P.H.S., C.d.F., M.D., Q.F., M.Ki., M.Ku., M.L., M.M., M.O., M.Si., C.T., H.L., S.M., A.T., P.M., J.P., J.C.M., S.H.V., R.E.G., I.H., P.L.F.J., J.O.K., J.S., E.E.E., E.S.L., T.E.B., M.Sl., D.R., J.K., and S.P. analysed genetic data; L.V.G., V.B.D., M.V.S., A.P.D. and B.V. analysed archaeological and anthropological data; H.B. and H.C. provided samples and reagents; K.P., J.K. and S.P. wrote and edited the manuscript with input from all authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Montgomery Slatkin or David Reich or Svante Pääbo.

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