Ancient DNA reveals prehistoric gene-flow from siberia in the complex human population history of North East Europe.
ABSTRACT: North East Europe harbors a high diversity of cultures and languages, suggesting a complex genetic history. Archaeological, anthropological, and genetic research has revealed a series of influences from Western and Eastern Eurasia in the past. While genetic data from modern-day populations is commonly used to make inferences about their origins and past migrations, ancient DNA provides a powerful test of such hypotheses by giving a snapshot of the past genetic diversity. In order to better understand the dynamics that have shaped the gene pool of North East Europeans, we generated and analyzed 34 mitochondrial genotypes from the skeletal remains of three archaeological sites in northwest Russia. These sites were dated to the Mesolithic and the Early Metal Age (7,500 and 3,500 uncalibrated years Before Present). We applied a suite of population genetic analyses (principal component analysis, genetic distance mapping, haplotype sharing analyses) and compared past demographic models through coalescent simulations using Bayesian Serial SimCoal and Approximate Bayesian Computation. Comparisons of genetic data from ancient and modern-day populations revealed significant changes in the mitochondrial makeup of North East Europeans through time. Mesolithic foragers showed high frequencies and diversity of haplogroups U (U2e, U4, U5a), a pattern observed previously in European hunter-gatherers from Iberia to Scandinavia. In contrast, the presence of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups C, D, and Z in Early Metal Age individuals suggested discontinuity with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and genetic influx from central/eastern Siberia. We identified remarkable genetic dissimilarities between prehistoric and modern-day North East Europeans/Saami, which suggests an important role of post-Mesolithic migrations from Western Europe and subsequent population replacement/extinctions. This work demonstrates how ancient DNA can improve our understanding of human population movements across Eurasia. It contributes to the description of the spatio-temporal distribution of mitochondrial diversity and will be of significance for future reconstructions of the history of Europeans.
Project description:While the series of events that shaped the transition between foraging societies and food producers are well described for Central and Southern Europe, genetic evidence from Northern Europe surrounding the Baltic Sea is still sparse. Here, we report genome-wide DNA data from 38 ancient North Europeans ranging from ~9500 to 2200 years before present. Our analysis provides genetic evidence that hunter-gatherers settled Scandinavia via two routes. We reveal that the first Scandinavian farmers derive their ancestry from Anatolia 1000 years earlier than previously demonstrated. The range of Mesolithic Western hunter-gatherers extended to the east of the Baltic Sea, where these populations persisted without gene-flow from Central European farmers during the Early and Middle Neolithic. The arrival of steppe pastoralists in the Late Neolithic introduced a major shift in economy and mediated the spread of a new ancestry associated with the Corded Ware Complex in Northern Europe.
Project description:The Neolithic transition from hunting and gathering to farming and cattle breeding marks one of the most drastic cultural changes in European prehistory. Short stretches of ancient mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from skeletons of pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers as well as early Neolithic farmers support the demic diffusion model where a migration of early farmers from the Near East and a replacement of pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherers are largely responsible for cultural innovation and changes in subsistence strategies during the Neolithic revolution in Europe. In order to test if a signal of population expansion is still present in modern European mitochondrial DNA, we analyzed a comprehensive dataset of 1,151 complete mtDNAs from present-day Europeans. Relying upon ancient DNA data from previous investigations, we identified mtDNA haplogroups that are typical for early farmers and hunter-gatherers, namely H and U respectively. Bayesian skyline coalescence estimates were then used on subsets of complete mtDNAs from modern populations to look for signals of past population expansions. Our analyses revealed a population expansion between 15,000 and 10,000 years before present (YBP) in mtDNAs typical for hunters and gatherers, with a decline between 10,000 and 5,000 YBP. These corresponded to an analogous population increase approximately 9,000 YBP for mtDNAs typical of early farmers. The observed changes over time suggest that the spread of agriculture in Europe involved the expansion of farming populations into Europe followed by the eventual assimilation of resident hunter-gatherers. Our data show that contemporary mtDNA datasets can be used to study ancient population history if only limited ancient genetic data is available.
Project description:Scandinavia was one of the last geographic areas in Europe to become habitable for humans after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). However, the routes and genetic composition of these postglacial migrants remain unclear. We sequenced the genomes, up to 57× coverage, of seven hunter-gatherers excavated across Scandinavia and dated from 9,500-6,000 years before present (BP). Surprisingly, among the Scandinavian Mesolithic individuals, the genetic data display an east-west genetic gradient that opposes the pattern seen in other parts of Mesolithic Europe. Our results suggest two different early postglacial migrations into Scandinavia: initially from the south, and later, from the northeast. The latter followed the ice-free Norwegian north Atlantic coast, along which novel and advanced pressure-blade stone-tool techniques may have spread. These two groups met and mixed in Scandinavia, creating a genetically diverse population, which shows patterns of genetic adaptation to high latitude environments. These potential adaptations include high frequencies of low pigmentation variants and a gene region associated with physical performance, which shows strong continuity into modern-day northern Europeans.
Project description:Ancient genomic sequences have started to reveal the origin and the demographic impact of farmers from the Neolithic period spreading into Europe. The adoption of farming, stock breeding and sedentary societies during the Neolithic may have resulted in adaptive changes in genes associated with immunity and diet. However, the limited data available from earlier hunter-gatherers preclude an understanding of the selective processes associated with this crucial transition to agriculture in recent human evolution. Here we sequence an approximately 7,000-year-old Mesolithic skeleton discovered at the La Braña-Arintero site in León, Spain, to retrieve a complete pre-agricultural European human genome. Analysis of this genome in the context of other ancient samples suggests the existence of a common ancient genomic signature across western and central Eurasia from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic. The La Braña individual carries ancestral alleles in several skin pigmentation genes, suggesting that the light skin of modern Europeans was not yet ubiquitous in Mesolithic times. Moreover, we provide evidence that a significant number of derived, putatively adaptive variants associated with pathogen resistance in modern Europeans were already present in this hunter-gatherer.
Project description:Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA variability (>40%), yet was less common (~19%) among Early Neolithic farmers (~5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Here we investigate this major component of the maternal population history of modern Europeans and sequence 39 complete haplogroup H mitochondrial genomes from ancient human remains. We then compare this 'real-time' genetic data with cultural changes taking place between the Early Neolithic (~5450 BC) and Bronze Age (~2200 BC) in Central Europe. Our results reveal that the current diversity and distribution of haplogroup H were largely established by the Mid Neolithic (~4000 BC), but with substantial genetic contributions from subsequent pan-European cultures such as the Bell Beakers expanding out of Iberia in the Late Neolithic (~2800 BC). Dated haplogroup H genomes allow us to reconstruct the recent evolutionary history of haplogroup H and reveal a mutation rate 45% higher than current estimates for human mitochondria.
Project description:Siberia and Northwestern Russia are home to over 40 culturally and linguistically diverse indigenous ethnic groups, yet genetic variation and histories of peoples from this region are largely uncharacterized. We present deep whole-genome sequencing data (?38×) from 28 individuals belonging to 14 distinct indigenous populations from that region. We combined these data sets with additional 32 modern-day and 46 ancient human genomes to reconstruct genetic histories of several indigenous Northern Eurasian populations. We found that Siberian and East Asian populations shared 38% of their ancestry with a 45,000-yr-old Ust'-Ishim individual who was previously believed to have no modern-day descendants. Western Siberians trace 57% of their ancestry to ancient North Eurasians, represented by the 24,000-yr-old Siberian Mal'ta boy MA-1. Eastern Siberian populations formed a distinct sublineage that separated from other East Asian populations ?10,000 yr ago. In addition, we uncovered admixtures between Siberians and Eastern European hunter-gatherers from Samara, Karelia, Hungary, and Sweden (from 8000-6600 yr ago); Yamnaya people (5300-4700 yr ago); and modern-day Northeastern Europeans. Our results provide new insights into genetic histories of Siberian and Northeastern European populations and evidence of ancient gene flow from Siberia into Europe.
Project description:Human ancient DNA studies have revealed high mobility in Europe's past, and have helped to decode the human history on the Eurasian continent. Northeastern Europe, especially north of the Baltic Sea, however, remains less well understood largely due to the lack of preserved human remains. Finland, with a divergent population history from most of Europe, offers a unique perspective to hunter-gatherer way of life, but thus far genetic information on prehistoric human groups in Finland is nearly absent. Here we report 103 complete ancient mitochondrial genomes from human remains dated to AD 300-1800, and explore mtDNA diversity associated with hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers. The results indicate largely unadmixed mtDNA pools of differing ancestries from Iron-Age on, suggesting a rather late genetic shift from hunter-gatherers towards farmers in North-East Europe. Furthermore, the data suggest eastern introduction of farmer-related haplogroups into Finland, contradicting contemporary genetic patterns in Finns.
Project description:The origins of the First Americans remain contentious. Although Native Americans seem to be genetically most closely related to east Asians, there is no consensus with regard to which specific Old World populations they are closest to. Here we sequence the draft genome of an approximately 24,000-year-old individual (MA-1), from Mal'ta in south-central Siberia, to an average depth of 1×. To our knowledge this is the oldest anatomically modern human genome reported to date. The MA-1 mitochondrial genome belongs to haplogroup U, which has also been found at high frequency among Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers, and the Y chromosome of MA-1 is basal to modern-day western Eurasians and near the root of most Native American lineages. Similarly, we find autosomal evidence that MA-1 is basal to modern-day western Eurasians and genetically closely related to modern-day Native Americans, with no close affinity to east Asians. This suggests that populations related to contemporary western Eurasians had a more north-easterly distribution 24,000 years ago than commonly thought. Furthermore, we estimate that 14 to 38% of Native American ancestry may originate through gene flow from this ancient population. This is likely to have occurred after the divergence of Native American ancestors from east Asian ancestors, but before the diversification of Native American populations in the New World. Gene flow from the MA-1 lineage into Native American ancestors could explain why several crania from the First Americans have been reported as bearing morphological characteristics that do not resemble those of east Asians. Sequencing of another south-central Siberian, Afontova Gora-2 dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures as MA-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum. Our findings reveal that western Eurasian genetic signatures in modern-day Native Americans derive not only from post-Columbian admixture, as commonly thought, but also from a mixed ancestry of the First Americans.
Project description:Ancient DNA genome-wide analyses of Neolithic individuals from central and southern Europe indicate an overall population turnover pattern in which migrating farmers from Anatolia and the Near East largely replaced autochthonous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. However, the genetic history of the Neolithic transition in areas lying north of the European Neolithic core region involved different levels of admixture with hunter-gatherers. Here we analyse genome-wide data of 17 individuals spanning from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age (4300-1900 BCE) in order to assess the Neolithic transition in north-central Poland, and the local impacts of hunter-farmer contacts and Late Neolithic steppe migrations. We evaluate the influence of these on local populations and assess if and how they change through time, reporting evidence of recurrent hunter-farmer admixture over three millennia, and the co-existence of unadmixed hunter-gatherers as late as 4300 BCE. During the Late Neolithic we report the appearance of steppe ancestry, but on a lesser scale than previously described for other central European regions, with evidence of stronger affinities to hunter-gatherers than to steppe pastoralists. These results help understand the Neolithic palaeogenomics of another central European area, Kuyavia, and highlight the complexity of population interactions during those times.
Project description:Archeologically attested human occupation on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) can be traced back to 160 thousand years ago (kya) via the archaic Xiahe people and 30∼40 kya via the Nwya Devu anatomically modern human. However, the history of the Tibetan populations and their migration inferred from the ancient and modern DNA remains unclear. Here, we performed the first ancient and modern genomic meta-analysis among 3,017 Paleolithic to present-day Eastern Eurasian genomes (2,444 modern individuals from 183 populations and 573 ancient individuals). We identified a close genetic connection between the ancient-modern highland Tibetans and lowland island/coastal Neolithic Northern East Asians (NEA). This observed genetic affinity reflected the primary ancestry of high-altitude Tibeto-Burman speakers originated from the Neolithic farming populations in the Yellow River Basin. The identified pattern was consistent with the proposed common north-China origin hypothesis of the Sino-Tibetan languages and dispersal patterns of the northern millet farmers. We also observed the genetic differentiation between the highlanders and lowland NEAs. The former harbored more deeply diverged Hoabinhian/Onge-related ancestry and the latter possessed more Neolithic southern East Asian (SEA) or Siberian-related ancestry. Our reconstructed <i>qpAdm</i> and <i>qpGrap</i>h models suggested the co-existence of Paleolithic and Neolithic ancestries in the Neolithic to modern East Asian highlanders. Additionally, we found that Tibetans from Ü-Tsang/Ando/Kham regions showed a strong population stratification consistent with their cultural background and geographic terrain. Ü-Tsang Tibetans possessed a stronger Chokhopani-affinity, Ando Tibetans had more Western Eurasian related ancestry and Kham Tibetans harbored greater Neolithic southern EA ancestry. Generally, ancient and modern genomes documented multiple waves of human migrations in the TP's past. The first layer of local hunter-gatherers mixed with incoming millet farmers and arose the Chokhopani-associated Proto-Tibetan-Burman highlanders, which further respectively mixed with additional genetic contributors from the western Eurasian Steppe, Yellow River and Yangtze River and finally gave rise to the modern Ando, Ü-Tsang and Kham Tibetans.