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. 2017 Mar 29;284(1851):20161976.
doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1976.

Reconciling Evidence From Ancient and Contemporary Genomes: A Major Source for the European Neolithic Within Mediterranean Europe

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Free PMC article

Reconciling Evidence From Ancient and Contemporary Genomes: A Major Source for the European Neolithic Within Mediterranean Europe

Joana B Pereira et al. Proc Biol Sci. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Important gaps remain in our understanding of the spread of farming into Europe, due partly to apparent contradictions between studies of contemporary genetic variation and ancient DNA. It seems clear that farming was introduced into central, northern, and eastern Europe from the south by pioneer colonization. It is often argued that these dispersals originated in the Near East, where the potential source genetic pool resembles that of the early European farmers, but clear ancient DNA evidence from Mediterranean Europe is lacking, and there are suggestions that Mediterranean Europe may have resembled the Near East more than the rest of Europe in the Mesolithic. Here, we test this proposal by dating mitogenome founder lineages from the Near East in different regions of Europe. We find that whereas the lineages date mainly to the Neolithic in central Europe and Iberia, they largely date to the Late Glacial period in central/eastern Mediterranean Europe. This supports a scenario in which the genetic pool of Mediterranean Europe was partly a result of Late Glacial expansions from a Near Eastern refuge, and that this formed an important source pool for subsequent Neolithic expansions into the rest of Europe.

Keywords: European origins; Late Glacial; Neolithic; haplogroups; mitogenomes; phylogeography.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Founder analysis results for whole mitogenomes. Top panel: from a Near East source to Mediterranean Europe (excluding Iberia); middle panel: from the Near East and Mediterranean Europe to Iberia; bottom panel: from the Near East and Mediterranean Europe to north and central Europe. (a) Probabilistic distribution across migration times scanned at 200 year intervals from 0 to 70 ka; (b) probabilistic distribution across migration times scanned at 200 year intervals from 0 to 70 ka; (c) proportion of Late Glacial, Neolithic and recent founder lineages in a heuristic three-migration model.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Late Glacial/early postglacial and Neolithic migrations from the Near East into Europe and the subsequent dispersals within Europe triggered by the arrival of the first farmers, involving both new Near Eastern genetic input and indigenous European lineages.

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