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DNA tracks ancient Mediterranean farmers to Scandinavia

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DNA tracks ancient Mediterranean farmers to Scandinavia

Postby yialousa1971 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:11 pm

New study chronicles the rise of agriculture in Europe
Analysis of Stone Age remains shows that farming moved north across the continent


An analysis of 5,000-year-old DNA taken from the Stone Age remains of four humans excavated in Sweden is helping researchers understand how agriculture spread throughout Europe long ago. According to Pontus Skoglund from Uppsala University in Sweden and colleagues, the practice of farming appears to have moved with migrants from southern to northern Europe.

Agricultural know-how wasn't the only thing that early European farmers introduced to the region. Based on their genetic data, Skoglund and the researchers say that Europe's first farmers eventually mixed their genes with the hunter-gatherers who lived there—a relationship that set the stage for today's modern European genome.

"We analyzed genetic data from two different cultures—one of hunter-gatherers and one of farmers—that existed around the same time, less than 400 kilometers (249 miles) away from each other," said Skoglund. "After comparing our data to modern human populations in Europe, we found that the Stone Age hunter-gatherers were outside the genetic variation of modern populations but most similar to Finnish individuals, and that the farmer we analyzed closely matched Mediterranean populations."

These findings likely have something to do with the expansion of farming across Europe, according to the researchers.

"When you put these findings in archaeological context, a picture begins to emerge of Stone Age farmers migrating from south to north across Europe," said Skoglund. "And the result of this migration, 5,000 years later, looks like a mixture of these two groups in the modern population."

The researchers report their data in the 27 April issue of the journal Science, which is published by AAAS, the nonprofit international science society.

Most experts agree that the agricultural way of life originated about 11,000 years ago in the Near East before it reached the European continent some 5,000 years later. But this new study should help scientists understand the impact of that agricultural revolution on human diversity.

Skoglund and his colleagues performed their analysis with the ancient remains of three hunter-gatherers who were associated with the Pitted Ware Culture and excavated from the island of Gotland, Sweden, along with those of a farmer, who was associated with the Funnel Beaker Culture and excavated from Gökhem parish, Sweden.

"We know that the hunter-gatherer remains were buried in flat-bed grave sites, in stark contrast to the megalithic sites that the farmers built," said Mattias Jakobsson, a senior author of the Science report, also from Uppsala University. "The farmer we analyzed was buried under such a megalith, and that's just one difference that helps distinguish the two cultures."

Ancient hunter-gatherers had a distinct genetic signature that was similar to that of today's northern Europeans, while the farmer's genetic signature closely resembles that of southern Europeans, according to the researchers. Interestingly, these ancient genomes don't share many similarities with modern-day Swedes, despite their discovery and excavations in Sweden.

"The fact that the hunter-gatherers are most similar to Finns, Orcadians and other extreme-northern populations suggests that they were indeed the last major part of the Mesolithic meta-population that populated large parts of Europe before the early farmers appeared," said Anders Götherström of Uppsala University, who is another senior author of the Science report. "And the fact that the farmer is most similar to southeastern Europeans makes sense too, as that is from where the spread of agriculture north and eastward started."

"The results suggest that agriculture spread across Europe in concert with a migration of people," added Skoglund. "If farming had spread solely as a cultural process, we would not expect to see a farmer in the north with such genetic affinity to southern populations."

The researchers suggest that Europe's early, intrepid farmers traveled north across the continent, settled in the northern regions and eventually mixed with resident hunter-gatherer populations. Consequently, the genomes of most modern Europeans were likely shaped by this prehistoric migration that first brought farming to the continent, they say.

###

The report by Skoglund et al. was supported by the Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation, Nilsson-Ehle Donationerna, Marie Curie Actions, the Danish National Research Council, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and the Swedish Research Council.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 042012.php
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Re: DNA tracks ancient Mediterranean farmers to Scandinavia

Postby yialousa1971 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:18 pm

Migrants from the Mediterranean by Northern Europeans first farmers

We found genetic similarities between the skeleton of the Neolithic Age in Sweden and the modern Greeks and Cypriots

Published: 27/04/2012, 17:58
Image
The first farmers in northern Europe probably originated from Greece and Cyprus, according to a new genetic study

Washington

A few thousand years, the European lifestyle underwent a dramatic change: gatherer societies were gradually replaced by the first farming communities. Research published in the journal «Science» has now discovered that the first farmers of northern Europe were probably immigrants from the Mediterranean, have genetic similarities to the current population of Greece, Italy and Cyprus.

From previous archaeological studies, it is known that agriculture in the Middle East appeared before about 11,000 years. Before 6,000 years, had now spread throughout most of Europe.

Anthropologists, however, continue to disagree on how this can happen. Was it the same farmers who migrated to the north, or does the idea of ​​agriculture spread from culture to culture?

Strengthening the case of migration

The latest study, which appears to strengthen the cause of migration is consistent with previous genetic studies but they were dealing with a very small portion of the genome, namely the Y chromosome or the so-called mitochondrial DNA.
This time, the researchers analyzed a larger portion of the genome, with a total length of about 250,000 base pairs of the three billion base pairs in all human DNA.

The research team at Uppsala University in Sweden comparing three skeletons dating back to 5000 years: three gatherers who were buried on the island of Gotland south of Stockholm and a woman farmer who lived in the same period in mainland Sweden, approximately 400 kilometers. The dietary habits of these Neolithic people were known by the findings in their graves.

Swedish prehistoric farmer with Mediterranean DNA

The analysis showed that the prehistoric farmer had extensive genetic differences from the gatherers of the season, but showed remarkable similarities with the present inhabitants of the southern Mediterranean, particularly the inhabitants of Greece, Cyprus and Sardinia.

Instead, the gatherers of three genetic study looked at the current inhabitants of Scandinavia.

As the research team in Science, the differences detected indicate that the farmer of Gotland was a descendant of immigrants from the Mediterranean. "If agriculture had spread only as a cultural process, it would expect to find a farmer's north with such great genetics affinity with the southern populations, "says evolutionary biologist Points Skokgklount, first author of the publication.

The findings of his research are clear, but may not be considered absolutely sure without examining περισσότερων νεολιθικών τροφοσυλλεκτών και γεωργών. more gatherers and Neolithic farmers.

Similar genetic studies in the future could show not only what was the origin of agriculture in northern Europe, but also to uncover the genetic differences between the gatherers and farmers.

Image
The researchers examined the skeleton of a rural women who lived in the Neolithic Age to the island Gotland in Sweden (Source: Göran Burenhult)

http://www.tovima.gr/science/technology ... 52&h1=true

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Re: DNA tracks ancient Mediterranean farmers to Scandinavia

Postby supporttheunderdog » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:17 pm

yialousa1971 wrote:New study chronicles the rise of agriculture in Europe
Analysis of Stone Age remains shows that farming moved north across the continent


An analysis of 5,000-year-old DNA taken from the Stone Age remains of four humans excavated in Sweden is helping researchers understand how agriculture spread throughout Europe long ago. According to Pontus Skoglund from Uppsala University in Sweden and colleagues, the practice of farming appears to have moved with migrants from southern to northern Europe.

Agricultural know-how wasn't the only thing that early European farmers introduced to the region. Based on their genetic data, Skoglund and the researchers say that Europe's first farmers eventually mixed their genes with the hunter-gatherers who lived there—a relationship that set the stage for today's modern European genome.

"We analyzed genetic data from two different cultures—one of hunter-gatherers and one of farmers—that existed around the same time, less than 400 kilometers (249 miles) away from each other," said Skoglund. "After comparing our data to modern human populations in Europe, we found that the Stone Age hunter-gatherers were outside the genetic variation of modern populations but most similar to Finnish individuals, and that the farmer we analyzed closely matched Mediterranean populations."

These findings likely have something to do with the expansion of farming across Europe, according to the researchers.

"When you put these findings in archaeological context, a picture begins to emerge of Stone Age farmers migrating from south to north across Europe," said Skoglund. "And the result of this migration, 5,000 years later, looks like a mixture of these two groups in the modern population."

The researchers report their data in the 27 April issue of the journal Science, which is published by AAAS, the nonprofit international science society.

Most experts agree that the agricultural way of life originated about 11,000 years ago in the Near East before it reached the European continent some 5,000 years later. But this new study should help scientists understand the impact of that agricultural revolution on human diversity.

Skoglund and his colleagues performed their analysis with the ancient remains of three hunter-gatherers who were associated with the Pitted Ware Culture and excavated from the island of Gotland, Sweden, along with those of a farmer, who was associated with the Funnel Beaker Culture and excavated from Gökhem parish, Sweden.

"We know that the hunter-gatherer remains were buried in flat-bed grave sites, in stark contrast to the megalithic sites that the farmers built," said Mattias Jakobsson, a senior author of the Science report, also from Uppsala University. "The farmer we analyzed was buried under such a megalith, and that's just one difference that helps distinguish the two cultures."

Ancient hunter-gatherers had a distinct genetic signature that was similar to that of today's northern Europeans, while the farmer's genetic signature closely resembles that of southern Europeans, according to the researchers. Interestingly, these ancient genomes don't share many similarities with modern-day Swedes, despite their discovery and excavations in Sweden.

"The fact that the hunter-gatherers are most similar to Finns, Orcadians and other extreme-northern populations suggests that they were indeed the last major part of the Mesolithic meta-population that populated large parts of Europe before the early farmers appeared," said Anders Götherström of Uppsala University, who is another senior author of the Science report. "And the fact that the farmer is most similar to southeastern Europeans makes sense too, as that is from where the spread of agriculture north and eastward started."

"The results suggest that agriculture spread across Europe in concert with a migration of people," added Skoglund. "If farming had spread solely as a cultural process, we would not expect to see a farmer in the north with such genetic affinity to southern populations."

The researchers suggest that Europe's early, intrepid farmers traveled north across the continent, settled in the northern regions and eventually mixed with resident hunter-gatherer populations. Consequently, the genomes of most modern Europeans were likely shaped by this prehistoric migration that first brought farming to the continent, they say.

###

The report by Skoglund et al. was supported by the Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation, Nilsson-Ehle Donationerna, Marie Curie Actions, the Danish National Research Council, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and the Swedish Research Council.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 042012.php


Here is a link to the original report: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2012/04/25/336.6080.466.DC1/Skoglund.SM.pdf
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