Large-scale recent expansion of European patrilineages shown by population resequencing

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Republication from  nature.com

Phylogeny and geographical distribution of European MSY lineages.

(a) Maximum-parsimony tree of European MSY lineages defined here by resequencing. Branch lengths are proportional to molecular divergence among haplotypes. Key mutation names are given next to some branches, and haplogroup names20 in the coloured bar below. Three sporadic haplogroups are coloured in black. The grey box within hg R1b-M269 shows the star phylogeny referred to in the text. (b) Map with pie-charts showing frequencies of Y-chromosome haplogroups (defined and coloured as in part a) in 17 populations from Europe and the Near East. Population abbreviations are as follows: bas: Basque; bav: Bavaria; CEU: Utah residents with Northern and Western European ancestry from the CEPH collection (France); den: Denmark; eng: England; fri: Frisia; gre: Greece; hun: Hungary; ire: Ireland; nor: Norway; ork: Orkney; pal: Palestinians; saa: Saami; ser: Serbia; spa: Spain; TSI: Toscani in Italia (Italy); tur: Turkey.

The proportion of Europeans descending from Neolithic farmers 10 thousand years ago (KYA) or Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers has been much debated. The male-specific region of the Y chromosome (MSY) has been widely applied to this question, but unbiased estimates of diversity and time depth have been lacking. Here we show that European patrilineages underwent a recent continent-wide expansion. Resequencing of 3.7 Mb of MSY DNA in 334 males, comprising 17 European and Middle Eastern populations, defines a phylogeny containing 5,996 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Dating indicates that three major lineages (I1, R1a and R1b), accounting for 64% of our sample, have very recent coalescent times, ranging between 3.5 and 7.3 KYA. A continuous swathe of 13/17 populations share similar histories featuring a demographic expansion starting 2.1–4.2 KYA. Our results are compatible with ancient MSY DNA data, and contrast with data on mitochondrial DNA, indicating a widespread male-specific phenomenon that focuses interest on the social structure of Bronze Age Europe.




Population genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia

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Republication  from  Nature

Distribution maps of ancient samples.


Localities, cultural associations, and approximate timeline of 101 sampled ancient individuals from Europe and Central Asia (left). Distribution of Early Bronze Age cultures Yamnaya, Corded Ware, and Afanasievo with arrows showing the Yamnaya expansions (top right). Middle and Late Bronze Age cultures Sintashta, Andronovo, Okunevo, and Karasuk with the eastward migration indicated (bottom right). Black markers represent chariot burials (2000–1800 bc) with similar horse cheek pieces, as evidence of expanding cultures. Tocharian is the second-oldest branch of Indo-European languages, preserved in Western China. CA, Copper Age; MN, Middle Neolithic; LN, Late Neolithic; EBA, Early Bronze Age; MBA, Middle Bronze Age; LBA, Late Bronze Age; IA, Iron Age; BAC, Battle Axe culture; CWC, Corded Ware culture.



British Have Changed Little Since Ice Age, Gene Study Says

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Republication from National Geographic News


By James Owen
for National Geographic News

Despite invasions by Saxons, Romans, Vikings, Normans, and others, the genetic makeup of today’s white Britons is much the same as it was 12,000 ago, a new book claims.

In The Tribes of Britain, archaeologist David Miles says around 80 percent of the genetic characteristics of most white Britons have been passed down from a few thousand Ice Age hunters.

Miles, research fellow at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford, England, says recent genetic and archaeological evidence puts a new perspective on the history of the British people.


A History of Slavery and Genocide Is Hidden in Modern DNA


Republication from ‘Tracing Knowledge…’

Genetic testing of people with Caribbean ancestry reveals evidence of indigenous population collapse and specific waves of slave trade. Image via Wikimedia Commons/NASA

Featuring article
A History of Slavery and Genocide Is Hidden in Modern DNA
November 15, 2013 | Posted By: Joseph Stromberg | Original online publication Smithsonian.com

There are plenty of ways to study history. You can conduct archaeological digs, examining the artifacts and structures buried under the ground to learn about past lifestyles. You can read historical texts, perusing the written record to better understand events that occurred long ago.

But an international group of medical researchers led by Andrés Moreno-Estrada and Carlos Bustamante of Stanford and Eden Martin of the University of Miami are looking instead at a decidedly unconventional historical record: human DNA.