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. 2018 May 4;360(6388):548-552.
doi: 10.1126/science.aar8380. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Pleistocene North African Genomes Link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African Human Populations


Pleistocene North African Genomes Link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African Human Populations

Marieke van de Loosdrecht et al. Science. .


North Africa is a key region for understanding human history, but the genetic history of its people is largely unknown. We present genomic data from seven 15,000-year-old modern humans, attributed to the Iberomaurusian culture, from Morocco. We find a genetic affinity with early Holocene Near Easterners, best represented by Levantine Natufians, suggesting a pre-agricultural connection between Africa and the Near East. We do not find evidence for gene flow from Paleolithic Europeans to Late Pleistocene North Africans. The Taforalt individuals derive one-third of their ancestry from sub-Saharan Africans, best approximated by a mixture of genetic components preserved in present-day West and East Africans. Thus, we provide direct evidence for genetic interactions between modern humans across Africa and Eurasia in the Pleistocene.

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