July 05, 2007

Ancient Iberian mtDNA

They are referring to this paper on early Neolithic farmers from Central Europe. The discovery that Neolithic Iberians were more similar to modern Iberians compared to Neolithic and modern Central Europeans is not very surprising; remember the recent finding that
"The surprise is that the Neolithic peoples of Europe and their Bronze Age successors are not closely related to the modern inhabitants, although the prehistoric/modern ties are somewhat more apparent in southern Europe."
Proc Biol Sci. 2007 Jun 26; [Epub ahead of print]

Palaeogenetic evidence supports a dual model of Neolithic spreading into Europe.

Sampietro ML, Lao O, Caramelli D, Lari M, Pou R, Martí M, Bertranpetit J, Lalueza-Fox C.

The peopling of Europe is a complex process. One of the most dramatic demographic events, the Neolithic agricultural revolution, took place in the Near East roughly 10000 years ago and then spread through the European continent. Nevertheless, the nature of this process (either cultural or demographic) is still a matter of debate among scientists. We have retrieved HVRI mitochondrial DNA sequences from 11 Neolithic remains from Granollers (Catalonia, northeast Spain) dated to 5500 years BP. We followed the proposed authenticity criteria, and we were also able, for the first time, to track down the pre-laboratory-derived contaminant sequences and consequently eliminate them from the generated cloning dataset. Phylogeographic analysis shows that the haplogroup composition of the Neolithic population is very similar to that found in modern populations from the Iberian Peninsula, suggesting a long-time genetic continuity, at least since Neolithic times. This result contrasts with that recently found in a Neolithic population from Central Europe and, therefore, raises new questions on the heterogeneity of the Neolithic dispersals into Europe. We propose here a dual model of Neolithic spread: acculturation in Central Europe and demic diffusion in southern Europe.


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