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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 DNA – from 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of the Denisovan genetic data; if the data, or an analysis of the data, is described briefly as "in review" or "unpublished", this will not fulfil resolution criteria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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