The connection between Crohn's Disease and Neanderthals

Published June 10, 2022


Radiolab interviewed Omer Gokcumen about the association of Crohn's Disease and Neanderthals, in an episode recounting one reporter's personal struggle with Crohn's disease. The segment discusses evolutionary history and whether modern humans inherited Crohn's disease through interbreeding with Neanderthals. The reality is complicated, and, "It seems to me that Crohn's disease is actually older than Neanderthals, older than humans. ... It's more accurate to say that we share Crohn's disease with Neanderthals," Gokcumen says. Among other topics, his lab studies the evolutionary history of genetic variations tied to interesting traits and diseases in modern and ancient human populations.

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