If anyone reading this is going to the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) in St. Louis next month, I'd love to know what was said at the following presentations.
The origins of the Aegean palatial civilizations from a population genetic perspectiveAlso worthy of note is this talk on ancient genomes from the Peruvian Andes. The study appears to be another nail in the coffin of old school physical anthropology.
MARTINA UNTERLÄNDER1,2, SUSANNE KREUTZER2 and CHRISTINA PAPAGEORGOPOULOU1. 1 Department of History and Ethnology, Demokritus University of Thrace, 2 Palaeogenetics Group, Institute of Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz.
The present paper investigates the origins of the Aegean pre-palatial civilizations (5th-3rd millennium BC) by applying cutting-edge methods of molecular biology and population genetics. The term Aegean Civilizations refers to the novel human lifeway (agriculture and craft specialization, redistribution systems, intensive trade) that appeared during the end of the Neolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age in the Aegean. Although many studies exist on archaeological constructions of ethnic and cultural identity on mainland Greece, the Cyclades and Crete, not enough efforts have been made to explore this direction on a population history basis. We have investigated Late, Final Neolithic and Early Bronze Age human skeletons (n=127) from the Aegean using ancient DNA methods, next generation sequencing (NGS) technology and statistical population genetic inferences to i) gather information on diversity, population size, and origin of the pre-palatial Aegean Cultures, ii) to compare them on a genetic basis, in terms of their cultural division (Helladic, Cycladic, Minoan) and iii) to investigate their ancestral/non-ancestral status to the Early and Middle Neolithic farmers from Greece. In addition to mitochondrial DNA genomes, by applying a capture-NGS approach we collected information on functional traits of the early Aegean communities in southeastern Europe. Considering the International Spirit that overwhelms the Aegean during the 3rd millennium BC, seen by the wide distribution of artifacts, this palaeogenetic approach provides valuable new insights on population structure of the groups involved in the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition and the spread of specific alleles in this part of Europe.
Phenotypic inference from ancient DNA
IAIN MATHIESON1, WOLFGANG HAAK4, NICK PATTERSON1,2, SWAPAN MALLICK1, BASTIEN LLAMAS4, NADIN ROHLAND1, EADAOIN HARNEY1, SUZANNE NORDENFELDT1, KRISTIN STEWARDSON1, IOSIF LAZARIDIS1, JOSEPH PICKRELL9, ALAN COOPER4, GUIDO BRANDT5, NICOLE NICKLISCH5,6, HARALD MELLER6, KURT W. ALT5,6,7,8 and DAVID REICH1,2,3. 1 Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 2 Broad Institute, 3 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, 4 Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide, 5 Institute of Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, 6 State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt and State Heritage Museum Halle, 7Institute for Prehistory and Archaeological Science, University of Basel, 8 Danube Private University, 9 New York Genome Center.
One of the most exciting consequences of recent developments in ancient DNA technology is that we have the ability to infer the phenotypes of ancient samples for traits that cannot be reliably inferred from skeletal remains. Important examples include pigmentation traits, dietary traits like lactase persistence and amylase copy number, and disease resistance mutations. These have relatively simple genetic architectures, but by using information from genome-wide association studies, and by genotyping many more sites, we can also predict the values of polygenic traits that are controlled by many loci, for example height, weight, and complex disease susceptibility. By investigating how they change through time, we can disentangle the effects of natural selection and population turnover in the evolution of these traits. In this study, we present genetic data from a series of samples from seven archaeologically defined cultures in central Europe, ranging from 8000BCE to present. We have genotyped these samples at 390,000 genomic loci, including 30,000 which have known phenotypic effects. We then use this data to distinguish between traits that have changed consistently with population turnovers, traits that have changed apparently neutrally, and traits that have changed dramatically due to recent natural selection. Finally, we investigate whether we can detect selection in polygenic traits like height or weight. These data demonstrate a powerful new source of information about ancient samples, and have the potential to teach us both about the specific traits of these populations, and also about the general mechanisms of evolution and adaptation in human history.
Genome-wide data from ancient Peruvian highlanders and the Population History of South AmericaThe AAPA 2015 website is here. You can download a PDF book with all of the abstracts here.
LARS FEHREN-SCHMITZ1, PONTUS SKOGLUND2, BASTIEN LLAMAS3, SUSANNE LINDAUER4, ELSA TOMASTO5, SUSAN KUZMINSKY1, NADIN ROHLAND2, SUSANNE NORDENFELT2, SWAPAN MALLICK2, ALAN COOPER3, NICK PATTERSON2,6, WOLFGANG HAAK3 and DAVID REICH2,6,7. 1 Department of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz, 2 Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 3Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide, 4 Curt-Engelhorn-Center for Archaeometry, 5 Departmento de Humanidades, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 6Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, 7 Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Despite recent advances in archaeology and population genetics, the number of human dispersals into South America and the routes these settlers took throughout the continent remains subject to controversy. The analysis of DNA from ancient human remains has proven to be an efficient tool to get insights into such ancient population dynamic processes. However, ancient DNA research in South America so far has been mostly restricted to the analysis of the mitochondrial control region and samples 5000 years old and younger. While these studies have increased our understanding of the pre- Columbian population history, inferences have been restricted to female population dynamics and have not allowed us to address relevant aspects like admixture and selection properly. Here, we present genome wide data from pre-Columbian Central Andean individuals from various archaeological sites dating from 7000 BC to 1100 AD. Ancient DNA genomic libraries were analyzed employing both shotgun sequencing and targeted hybridization capture approaches. We compare this data with published genome-wide data from ancient and modern Native American populations and reconcile our results with craniometric studies. Our results show a striking genetic continuity in the Andes over at least 8000 years despite observed changes in cranio-morphological variability. Additionally, our observations support the hypothesis of a single-wave scenario, in which the early and later populations of pre- Columbian South America derived primarily from a single source population.