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We sequenced the genome of a Neandertal from Chagyrskaya Cave in the Altai Mountains, Russia, to 27-fold genomic coverage. We estimate that this individual lived ~80,000 years ago and was more closely related to Neandertals in western Eurasia than to Neandertals who lived earlier in Denisova Cave, which is located about 100 km away. About 12.9% of the Chagyrskaya genome is spanned by homozygous regions that are between 2.5 and 10 centiMorgans (cM) long. This is consistent with that Siberian Neandertals lived in relatively isolated populations of less than 60 individuals. In contrast, a Neandertal from Europe, a Denisovan from the Altai Mountains and ancient modern humans seem to have lived in populations of larger sizes. The availability of three Neandertal genomes of high quality allows a first view of genetic features that were unique to Neandertals and that are likely to have been at high frequency among them. We find that genes highly expressed in the striatum in the basal ganglia of the brain carry more amino acid-changing substitutions than genes expressed elsewhere in the brain, suggesting that the striatum may have evolved unique functions in Neandertals.

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