Update 10/06/2015: 101 ancient Eurasian genomes (Allentoft et al. 2015)
I'm hearing rumors that Nature is about to publish an important ancient DNA paper on the Late Neolithic to Bronze Age transition in West Eurasia. The paper is one of the main outcomes of The Rise, a Gothenburg University-based project focusing on the rise of Bronze Age societies in Northern Europe.
Below is a Google translation of a recent article from NovostiNK which is almost certainly about the imminent publication of this paper.
It's interesting to note the claim by one of the Armenian researchers that present-day Armenians are almost indistinguishable from the Bronze Age samples from what is now the Republic of Armenia.
This sounds very reasonable based on what we've learned to date from present-day Armenian variation (for instance, see here and here), but it's difficult to know what it means exactly without knowing what types of analyses were carried out and thresholds used. Hopefully we'll learn that in "a few days".
Today Armenians are descendants of people who lived in the territory of Armenia 5 thousand years ago, told reporters on Friday the head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biodiversity Institute of the National Academy of Sciences Levon Yepiskoposyan, referring to the international genetic study.
Genetic analysis of 101 DNA samples from different parts of Eurasia was made to clarify the genetic portrait of a man of the Bronze Age.
Eight DNA samples were taken from various archaeological sites throughout Armenia. They date back to the middle and late Bronze and Iron ages.
"The results of genetic studies have shown that DNA samples from the Bronze Age have been found on the territory of Armenia have a genetic portrait that is almost indistinguishable from the genetic portrait of people living today in our territory," said Yepiskoposyan.
He stressed that based on the results, we can conclude that modern people living in the territory of Armenia has enough deep roots.
"By participating in this study, we were able to solve not only the question of the genetic, historical and archaeological analysis, but also to some extent to respond to allegations that the Armenians living in the territory of Eastern Armenia only 200 years" said Yepiskoposyan.
He also noted that Armenia was the only country in the region that participated in the study. "Perhaps the reason is that we do not have the problems associated with our history and our neighbors apparently have such problems," said Yepiskoposyan.
"The study was conducted to study the genetic portrait of generations past and solve one of the most important questions - are we, modern people, direct descendants of the peoples living on the territory of a 5 thousand years ago," said Yepiskoposyan.
In turn, the director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences Pavel Avetisyan added that the results of this study, conducted at Copenhagen University, will be published a few days later in a scientific paper, authored by 44 experts from 13 countries.
"Armenia for the first time take part in this kind of program, and the results we got were quite interesting," said Avetisyan.
Source: Современные армяне являются потомками людей, населявших территорию Армении 5 тыс. лет назад