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Will genetic data from a new Denisova hominin be published in the first 6 months of 2019?

Denisovans are a clade of hominins discovered in 2009. They are fascinating, unusual and mysterious:

Firstly, they are the first ancient hominin whose existence was inferred not by analysis of fossil features, but by analysing DNAfrom a pinky finger bone. Secondly, all confirmed Denisovan samples are teeth and fragments of bone found only in a single cave in Siberia. Thirdly, DNA derived from Denisovans or their close relatives makes up around 5% of the genomes of many Melanesian and Aboriginal Australian groups, and a lower but non-zero proportion for other Asians as well as Amerindians. Fourthly, the genetic adaptation of Tibetans and Sherpas to high-altitude living was achieved by at least one Denisovan-derived variant. Fifthly, an astounding discovery was presented earlier in 2018 in the form of a first-generation hybrid between a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father.

Including the hybrid, the genetic data of only five Denisovans has been published to date. This question asks the following:

Between January 1st and June 30th 2019 inclusive, will a scientific paper be published describing genetic data from a new Denisova hominin?


  • The genetic data must be from a new individual, and thus cannot be a previously described individual sequenced to higher coverage

  • The full genetic data for the individual must be described in the paper as being at least 40% Denisovan in ancestry. For instance, a Denisovan mitochondrial genome will fulfil resolution criteria, as will nuclear DNA from another first-generation hybrid.

    • Edge case: if the individual is described as having (fully) Denisovan mitochondrial DNA but < 40% nuclear Denisovan DNA, this individual will not be considered a "Denisovan"
  • If the individual is described in the paper as a "Denisovan relative" rather than a "Denisovan", this will not fulfil resolution criteria

  • The paper must describe the results of at least one "analysis" of the Denisovan genetic data; if the data, or an analysis of the data, is described briefly as "in review" or "unpublished", this will not fulfil resolution criteria

  • If under 5,000 bases are called for the individual, this will not fulfil resolution criteria

  • The genetic material must be unambiguously assigned to a single individual, thus excluding metagenomic data such as that extracted from sediment

  • The scientific paper must be published in a "mainstream" journal, such that it follows the definition of a Metaculus "credible source"

    • Preprints on bioRxiv or other preprint repositories will not fulfil resolution criteria
  • The publish date must be between the dates listed; if the article has a second, earlier date than the published date that is described as "early access", "published online at" or similar, this date cannot be used to fulfil resolution criteria


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