Several people tweeted from Iosif Lazaridis' talk at the ASHG earlier today, which focused on ancient DNA from 65 Neolithic and Bronze Age Europeans. Here are a couple of the tweets that caught my eye:
There was an influx from north Eurasian steppe into Europe after advent of farming. Consistent w linguistic evidence.LinkSo it seems that latest paleogenomics data support the linguists and archeologists who see the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) homeland on the Eastern European steppe. For some background on that, check out the videos here.
Admixture shows multiway admixture among late Neolithic ancient samples. Yamnaya good source as 3rd ancestral reference.Link
Razib also tweeted a few times from the talk, and as far as I can tell, his main point was that the Yamnaya samples showed affinity to the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) proxy Mal'ta boy, but were also partly of Near Eastern origin, and indeed could be modeled as a 50/50 mixture between present-day Armenians and ancient Karelian hunter-gatherers. He also said that the ancient Karelians were classified as eastern hunter-gatherers, along with the hunter-gatherers from the Samara Valley, which probably means they carried a lot of ANE admixture.
Moreover, he added that Corded Ware genomes from late Neolithic Germany were estimated at 75% Yamnaya, while another source from the talk revealed to me that they carried a surprisingly "large chunk" of ANE.
All of this makes sense, considering that during the Neolithic much of present-day Ukraine west of the Dnieper was home to the Cucuteni-Trypillian farmers, probably of Near Eastern origin, while at the same time large groups of indigenous hunter-gatherers still foraged east of the Dnieper. Based on archeological data, it seems these two groups mixed at some point, becoming mobile pastoralists associated with the Yamnaya culture, and then expanded in all directions during the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age, potentially spreading Indo-European culture and languages as they went.
The Cucuteni-Trypillian farmers might well have been very similar to present-day Armenians, although probably without the 10-15% of ANE carried by them, which likely arrived in eastern Anatolia with the early Indo-Europeans from the steppe.
By the way, it's possible that the Karelian hunter-gatherers are the same samples as those featured in Der Sarkissian et al. 2013., where they were reported to carry mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplogroups C1 (3 instances), U2e (x2), U4 (x2), U5a and H.
Here's a spatial map from that study showing genetic distances between the ancient Karelian mtDNA and that of modern populations.
Der Sarkissian C, Balanovsky O, Brandt G, Khartanovich V, Buzhilova A, et al. (2013) Ancient DNA Reveals Prehistoric Gene-Flow from Siberia in the Complex Human Population History of North East Europe. PLoS Genet 9(2): e1003296. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003296
Corded Ware Culture linked to the spread of ANE across Europe
Coming soon: genome-wide data from more than forty 3-9K year-old humans from the ancient Russian steppe