- The non-use by the paper of the "evolutionary mutation rate" results in low age estimates and hence a "Neolithic" time frame. The authors are to be commended for going against the flow of the last 7 years of population genetics literature.
- However, the inference that a "Neolithic" TMRCA = "Neolithic" time of arrival into Europe is flawed, as I have argued elsewhere. In short: a particular TMRCA is consistent with either the arrival of the lineage long before and long after the TMRCA in a particular geographical area.
- Equally flawed is the inference that R1b1b2 is clinal (Figure 2A). Microsatellite variance is not significantly higher in Turkey than in Europe -- even if one makes the questionable questionable assumption that modern Anatolian Turks are patrilineal descendants of Neolithic Anatolians. The significance of the regression line disappears if 1 or 2 data points are excluded, and the plot has a quite visible "gap" between Turkey and Italy corresponding to the entirety of eastern Europe and the Balkans, i.e. the routes that any putative Neolithic lineages would have entered Europe
Related: Migrationism Strikes Back in which I argue in favor of Neolithic (or later) replacement of most European mtDNA.
PLoS Biology doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000285
A Predominantly Neolithic Origin for European Paternal Lineages
Patricia Balaresque et al.
The relative contributions to modern European populations of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers from the Near East have been intensely debated. Haplogroup R1b1b2 (R-M269) is the commonest European Y-chromosomal lineage, increasing in frequency from east to west, and carried by 110 million European men. Previous studies suggested a Paleolithic origin, but here we show that the geographical distribution of its microsatellite diversity is best explained by spread from a single source in the Near East via Anatolia during the Neolithic. Taken with evidence on the origins of other haplogroups, this indicates that most European Y chromosomes originate in the Neolithic expansion. This reinterpretation makes Europe a prime example of how technological and cultural change is linked with the expansion of a Y-chromosomal lineage, and the contrast of this pattern with that shown by maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA suggests a unique role for males in the transition.