The Crazy Way You Could Have Inherited Your Allergies

Photographed by Mike Garten.
It's probably not surprising to you that your allergies have a genetic component. But what is surprising is that, according to new research, you may have inherited those allergy-related genes in a very interesting — and possibly scandalous! — way, The Guardian reports. The two studies, both published recently in the American Journal of Human Genetics, centered on a series of genes that can be traced back to Neanderthals and Denisovans (another of our human ancestors). The research teams then looked at how common those genes were in modern humans. Although the two studies were looking for different things, they both identified three genes that are involved in our immune response. Two of them closely match Neanderthal DNA, but the third is more likely Denisovan. Researchers suggest that those modern humans who have both types of genes may be the product of some super sexy Neanderthal/Denisovan hookup long, long ago. And thanks to a previous study, performed by genetic testing company 23andme, we know that having these immune-related genes may make someone more likely to have certain allergies. In particular, the study found that those with this DNA were more likely to report having pollen, cat, and dust allergies. So if you get extra sneezy around flowers or kitties, you may be able to thank your (very far removed) ancestors.

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