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KI researchers: Viking disease is caused by Neanderthal genes

KI researchers: Viking disease is caused by Neanderthal genes

The little finger and ring finger are usually bent and difficult to pull. It usually doesn’t hurt.


Are your fingers bent and difficult to straighten? Perhaps she is a descendant of Vikings, perhaps a Neanderthal. This is what new research shows.

Up to 30 percent of men over 60 in northern Europe have Dupuytren’s contracture, the Viking disease, in which the fingers lock into a bent position.

in heredity

Now researchers at the Karolinska Institutet KI have investigated why. The hypothesis was that it was caused by genetic variants in Neanderthals.

Because Viking disease is rarely seen in individuals of African descent, we asked ourselves whether genetic variants from Neanderthals could partially explain why people outside Africa are primarily affected, says researcher Hugo Zeberg on the KI website.

The genomes of nearly 8,000 patients in Finland, Great Britain and the United States were analyzed and compared with 600,000 healthy individuals.

Researchers found 61 genetic risk factors for Viking Disease. Three of them are inherited from the Neanderthals, two of them are the most important to be affected.

Viking connection

Neanderthals inhabited Europe and Asia before modern humans arrived there 60,000 years ago.

The peoples were mixed, and between one and two percent of the genetic mass of people with roots outside Africa comes from Neanderthals.

– This is the case when meeting with Neanderthals increased the risk of disease, although the relationship between Neanderthals and Vikings should not be exaggerated, says Hugo Zeberg.

Viking disease does not hurt

It is often called Viking disease because the condition occurs mainly here in the north.

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It is due to changes in the collagen found in the connective tissue plate of the palm.

It usually starts with a nodule in the palm of the hand and is not painful.

It can be treated with a needle stick through the skin that splits the tough strands of connective tissue that hold the fingers together, or surgery that removes the thick connective tissue.

Source: 1177