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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ancient Y-DNA and mtDNA from early Neolithic Germany


These results from an LBK burial site in Germany (5,500-4,900 BC) look surprisingly Near Eastern. So the question is, where were the ancestors of modern Central Europeans at this time?

Interestingly, we do not find the most common Y chromosome hgs in modern Europe (e.g., R1b, R1a, I, and E1b1), which parallels the low frequency of the very common modern European mtDNA hg H (now at 20%–50% across Western Eurasia) in the Neolithic samples. Also, while both Neolithic Y chromosome hgs G2a3 and F* are rather rare in modern-day Europe, they have slightly higher frequencies in populations of the Near East, and the highest frequency of hg G2a is seen in the Caucasus today [15]. The few published ancient Y chromosome results from Central Europe come from late Neolithic sites and were exclusively hg R1a [31]. While speculative, we suggest this supports the idea that R1a may have spread with late Neolithic cultures from the east [31].



Haak W, Balanovsky O, Sanchez JJ, Koshel S, Zaporozhchenko V, et al. (2010)
Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic farmers reveals their Near Eastern affinities. PLoS Biol 8(11): e1000536. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536

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