Genome flux and stasis in a five millennium transect of European prehistory

Nat Commun. 2014 Oct 21:5:5257. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6257.


The Great Hungarian Plain was a crossroads of cultural transformations that have shaped European prehistory. Here we analyse a 5,000-year transect of human genomes, sampled from petrous bones giving consistently excellent endogenous DNA yields, from 13 Hungarian Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age burials including two to high (~22 × ) and seven to ~1 × coverage, to investigate the impact of these on Europe's genetic landscape. These data suggest genomic shifts with the advent of the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages, with interleaved periods of genome stability. The earliest Neolithic context genome shows a European hunter-gatherer genetic signature and a restricted ancestral population size, suggesting direct contact between cultures after the arrival of the first farmers into Europe. The latest, Iron Age, sample reveals an eastern genomic influence concordant with introduced Steppe burial rites. We observe transition towards lighter pigmentation and surprisingly, no Neolithic presence of lactase persistence.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity
  • Europe
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genomic Instability
  • Genomics
  • Genotype
  • History, Ancient
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Population Density
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Time Factors
  • White People / genetics
  • White People / history*

Associated data

  • SRA/SRP039766