Very interesting blog post on The Spitoon, the blog of 23andMe, the hip Google-backed, personal genetics company.
A quick excerpt:
The place of Neanderthals in the story of human evolution has been hotly debated for decades. A distant cousin to our species, Neanderthals had already been in Europe over 250,000 years when Homo sapiens first arrived there 35,000 years ago.
Often called Cro-Magnoids, these first Europeans are believed by many scientists to have out-competed the Neanderthals, gradually driving them to extinction. The alternative theory, that Neanderthals and early humans are more closely related and may have even interbred upon meeting, is less popular, though it hasn’t yet been ruled out. In order to resolve this debate, scientists have turned to genetics and methods of ancient DNA analysis to help them answer the questions surrounding the relationships between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnoids.
Basically, the evidence shows no contribution from Neanderthal DNA to either 28,000 year-old or modern European genetics, making the premise for Neanderthal interbreeding extremely weak.
Neat stuff if you are into either genetics or the evolution of human beings.
Full article is here.