The genetic history of the Southern Arc: A bridge between West Asia and Europe

Science. 2022 Aug 26;377(6609):eabm4247. doi: 10.1126/science.abm4247. Epub 2022 Aug 26.


By sequencing 727 ancient individuals from the Southern Arc (Anatolia and its neighbors in Southeastern Europe and West Asia) over 10,000 years, we contextualize its Chalcolithic period and Bronze Age (about 5000 to 1000 BCE), when extensive gene flow entangled it with the Eurasian steppe. Two streams of migration transmitted Caucasus and Anatolian/Levantine ancestry northward, and the Yamnaya pastoralists, formed on the steppe, then spread southward into the Balkans and across the Caucasus into Armenia, where they left numerous patrilineal descendants. Anatolia was transformed by intra-West Asian gene flow, with negligible impact of the later Yamnaya migrations. This contrasts with all other regions where Indo-European languages were spoken, suggesting that the homeland of the Indo-Anatolian language family was in West Asia, with only secondary dispersals of non-Anatolian Indo-Europeans from the steppe.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Balkan Peninsula
  • Europe
  • Gene Flow*
  • Genome, Human*
  • History, Ancient
  • Human Migration* / history
  • Humans
  • White People / genetics