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Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone

Date:
February 21, 2018
Source:
Harvard Medical School
Summary:
In the last eight years, the field of ancient DNA research has expanded from just one ancient human genome to more than 1,300. The latest 625 of those genomes debut Feb. 21 in Nature, including the largest study of ancient DNA to date.
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FULL STORY

In the last eight years, the field of ancient DNA research has expanded from just one ancient human genome to more than 1,300. The latest 625 of those genomes debut Feb. 21 in two papers published simultaneously in Nature, including the largest study of ancient DNA to date.

The studies were conducted by international teams each containing more than 100 archaeologists and geneticists and co-led by Harvard Medical School professor David Reich. The results focus on European prehistory in the Stone and Copper Ages.

Findings at a glance:

The Bell Beaker culture comprised at least two genetically distinct populations and initially represented a spread of ideas more than of people, unlike other notable prehistoric archaeological cultures in Europe.

Ninety percent of the population of what is now Britain was completely replaced by an influx of Beaker practitioners around 4,400 years ago, just after the major megaliths at Stonehenge were erected.

The genetic shift introduced variants for paler skin and lighter-colored eyes; genes for digesting lactose became common sometime later.

Multiple pulses of farmers moved from Asia into Europe during the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture; previously, data was consistent with only a single group giving rise to all European farmers.

Initially, the mixture of incoming Asian farmers and local European hunter-gatherers tended to involve hunter-gatherer women being integrated into farmer communities. Later, the trend reversed and new hunter-gatherer ancestry came mostly from men.

The large sample sizes magnify the power of studies that delve into:

  • Genetic variation within a specific region and how it changes over time
  • The evolution of genes that affect complex traits
  • The distribution of families within and across grave sites
  • Matrilocality and patrilocality -- areas where women stayed in the same place and men moved, and vice versa

Story Source:

Materials provided by Harvard Medical School. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal References:

  1. Iain Mathieson, Songül Alpaslan-Roodenberg, Cosimo Posth, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Nadin Rohland, Swapan Mallick, Iñigo Olalde, Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht, Francesca Candilio, Olivia Cheronet, Daniel Fernandes, Matthew Ferry, Beatriz Gamarra, Gloria González Fortes, Wolfgang Haak, Eadaoin Harney, Eppie Jones, Denise Keating, Ben Krause-Kyora, Isil Kucukkalipci, Megan Michel, Alissa Mittnik, Kathrin Nägele, Mario Novak, Jonas Oppenheimer, Nick Patterson, Saskia Pfrengle, Kendra Sirak, Kristin Stewardson, Stefania Vai, Stefan Alexandrov, Kurt W. Alt, Radian Andreescu, Dragana Antonović, Abigail Ash, Nadezhda Atanassova, Krum Bacvarov, Mende Balázs Gusztáv, Hervé Bocherens, Michael Bolus, Adina Boroneanţ, Yavor Boyadzhiev, Alicja Budnik, Josip Burmaz, Stefan Chohadzhiev, Nicholas J. Conard, Richard Cottiaux, Maja Čuka, Christophe Cupillard, Dorothée G. Drucker, Nedko Elenski, Michael Francken, Borislava Galabova, Georgi Ganetsovski, Bernard Gély, Tamás Hajdu, Veneta Handzhyiska, Katerina Harvati, Thomas Higham, Stanislav Iliev, Ivor Janković, Ivor Karavanić, Douglas J. Kennett, Darko Komšo, Alexandra Kozak, Damian Labuda, Martina Lari, Catalin Lazar, Maleen Leppek, Krassimir Leshtakov, Domenico Lo Vetro, Dženi Los, Ivaylo Lozanov, Maria Malina, Fabio Martini, Kath McSweeney, Harald Meller, Marko Menđušić, Pavel Mirea, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Vanya Petrova, T. Douglas Price, Angela Simalcsik, Luca Sineo, Mario Šlaus, Vladimir Slavchev, Petar Stanev, Andrej Starović, Tamás Szeniczey, Sahra Talamo, Maria Teschler-Nicola, Corinne Thevenet, Ivan Valchev, Frédérique Valentin, Sergey Vasilyev, Fanica Veljanovska, Svetlana Venelinova, Elizaveta Veselovskaya, Bence Viola, Cristian Virag, Joško Zaninović, Steve Zäuner, Philipp W. Stockhammer, Giulio Catalano, Raiko Krauß, David Caramelli, Gunita Zariņa, Bisserka Gaydarska, Malcolm Lillie, Alexey G. Nikitin, Inna Potekhina, Anastasia Papathanasiou, Dušan Borić, Clive Bonsall, Johannes Krause, Ron Pinhasi, David Reich. The genomic history of southeastern Europe. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/nature25778
  2. Iñigo Olalde, Selina Brace, Morten E. Allentoft, Ian Armit, Kristian Kristiansen, Thomas Booth, Nadin Rohland, Swapan Mallick, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Alissa Mittnik, Eveline Altena, Mark Lipson, Iosif Lazaridis, Thomas K. Harper, Nick Patterson, Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht, Yoan Diekmann, Zuzana Faltyskova, Daniel Fernandes, Matthew Ferry, Eadaoin Harney, Peter de Knijff, Megan Michel, Jonas Oppenheimer, Kristin Stewardson, Alistair Barclay, Kurt Werner Alt, Corina Liesau, Patricia Ríos, Concepción Blasco, Jorge Vega Miguel, Roberto Menduiña García, Azucena Avilés Fernández, Eszter Bánffy, Maria Bernabò-Brea, David Billoin, Clive Bonsall, Laura Bonsall, Tim Allen, Lindsey Büster, Sophie Carver, Laura Castells Navarro, Oliver E. Craig, Gordon T. Cook, Barry Cunliffe, Anthony Denaire, Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy, Natasha Dodwell, Michal Ernée, Christopher Evans, Milan Kuchařík, Joan Francès Farré, Chris Fowler, Michiel Gazenbeek, Rafael Garrido Pena, María Haber-Uriarte, Elżbieta Haduch, Gill Hey, Nick Jowett, Timothy Knowles, Ken Massy, Saskia Pfrengle, Philippe Lefranc, Olivier Lemercier, Arnaud Lefebvre, César Heras Martínez, Virginia Galera Olmo, Ana Bastida Ramírez, Joaquín Lomba Maurandi, Tona Majó, Jacqueline I. McKinley, Kathleen McSweeney, Balázs Gusztáv Mende, Alessandra Mod, Gabriella Kulcsár, Viktória Kiss, András Czene, Róbert Patay, Anna Endrődi, Kitti Köhler, Tamás Hajdu, Tamás Szeniczey, János Dani, Zsolt Bernert, Maya Hoole, Olivia Cheronet, Denise Keating, Petr Velemínský, Miroslav Dobeš, Francesca Candilio, Fraser Brown, Raúl Flores Fernández, Ana-Mercedes Herrero-Corral, Sebastiano Tusa, Emiliano Carnieri, Luigi Lentini, Antonella Valenti, Alessandro Zanini, Clive Waddington, Germán Delibes, Elisa Guerra-Doce, Benjamin Neil, Marcus Brittain, Mike Luke, Richard Mortimer, Jocelyne Desideri, Marie Besse, Günter Brücken, Mirosław Furmanek, Agata Hałuszko, Maksym Mackiewicz, Artur Rapiński, Stephany Leach, Ignacio Soriano, Katina T. Lillios, João Luís Cardoso, Michael Parker Pearson, Piotr Włodarczak, T. Douglas Price, Pilar Prieto, Pierre-Jérôme Rey, Roberto Risch, Manuel A. Rojo Guerra, Aurore Schmitt, Joël Serralongue, Ana Maria Silva, Václav Smrčka, Luc Vergnaud, João Zilhão, David Caramelli, Thomas Higham, Mark G. Thomas, Douglas J. Kennett, Harry Fokkens, Volker Heyd, Alison Sheridan, Karl-Göran Sjögren, Philipp W. Stockhammer, Johannes Krause, Ron Pinhasi, Wolfgang Haak, Ian Barnes, Carles Lalueza-Fox, David Reich. The Beaker phenomenon and the genomic transformation of northwest Europe. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/nature25738

Cite This Page:

Harvard Medical School. "Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180221131848.htm>.
Harvard Medical School. (2018, February 21). Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180221131848.htm
Harvard Medical School. "Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180221131848.htm (accessed April 19, 2024).

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