Saturday, April 28, 2012

DNA Analysis of Neolithic Europeans

DNA Analysis of Neolithic Europeans

Science Magazine
April 27, 2012

Archeologists and anthropologists have analyzed ancient DNA in an attempt to correlate DNA samples with geographic locations in Neolithic times. Friday's issue of Science Magazine has four autosomal results of Neolithic Europeans:

 - 3 hunter-gatherers excavated, whose distinct genetic signature is most similar to that of extant northern Europeans.

 - 1 farmer excavated in Scandinavia (Sweden) is genetically most similar to extant southern Europeans

The 3 hunter gatherer autosomal samples were excavated from burial grounds on the island of Gotland, Sweden. Associated remains have been dated to 5300-4400 years ago, or 2400 to 3300 B.C.

The one farmer has been associated with the Pitted Ware Culture were most similar to the DNA sequences of people from Finland. These remains were carbon dated dated to 4,921 ± 50 years ago, or about 3,000 BC.

Apparently, no Y-DNA haplotype group was published. But this does sound a lot like I1 and R1b. Or, R1a and R1b. If I were to guess, it would be that the three hunter-gatherers should be I1, and the one farmer to be R1b. But, Dienekes cautions that the three hunter-gatherer contemporaries "were outside the range of modern variation."

Denekes writes:

"We now have two ancient autosomal DNA sampling locations, and both turned up unexpected results. The Iceman, a Copper Age inhabitant of the Alps resembled modern Sardinians. A Megalithic Swedish farmer resembled Southern Europeans, while his hunter-gatherer contemporaries were outside the range of modern variation. These results should give us caution about the identity of past populations elsewhere.

As I have argued elsewhere, the past seems to have been much more dynamic than many had suspected..."

  (end quote)

In simplist terms, scientists have expected farmers to follow hunter-gatherers, and not the other way around. To view the article and read Deniekes Blog, follow the links below.

Science Magazine  (behind a pay-to-view firewall):

"Origins and Genetic Legacy of Neolithic Farmers and Hunter-Gatherers in Europe"

Pontus Skoglund, Helena Malmström, Maanasa Raghavan, Jan Storå, Per Hall, Eske Willerslev, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Anders Götherström1, Mattias Jakobsson


The farming way of life originated in the Near East some 11,000 years ago and had reached most of the European continent 5000 years later. However, the impact of the agricultural revolution on demography and patterns of genomic variation in Europe remains unknown. We obtained 249 million base pairs of genomic DNA from ~5000-year-old remains of three hunter-gatherers and one farmer excavated in Scandinavia and find that the farmer is genetically most similar to extant southern Europeans, contrasting sharply to the hunter-gatherers, whose distinct genetic signature is most similar to that of extant northern Europeans. Our results suggest that migration from southern Europe catalyzed the spread of agriculture and that admixture in the wake of this expansion eventually shaped the genomic landscape of modern-day Europe.

See also Dienekes Blog:

"A first look at the DNA of Neolithic inhabitants from Sweden"

"Ancient DNA from Neolithic Sweden (Skoglund et al. 2012)"

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