Modern European Ancestry Origins In Ancient Ice Age Hunter Gatherers

Posted: Nov 17 2015, 3:56am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Modern European Ancestry Origins in Ancient Ice Age Hunter Gatherers
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  • DNA shows European Origins in Ancient Ice Age Hunter Gatherers

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The genome sequencing shows ‘Fourth strand’ of European ancestry origins to lie in ancient Ice Age hunter gatherers.

Scientists recently began work on the genomic sequencing of human remains from the Paleolithic period in history. We are talking about an era that goes back 13,000 years in history. A fourth strand of European ancestory was revealed via this methodology.

This lineage consists of hunter gatherers who were disunited from their western counterparts after the migration from Africa. This took place 45,000 years ago. They went on to make settlements in the region between Georgia and Russia.

The hunter gatherers remained isolated here for thousands of years. The denouement of the Ice Age further led to their natural quarantine. Ultimately when the Ice Age started to wane, these tribes met up with others of their ilk and some miscegenation took place. These other populations were from the eastern regions.

The genetic pool that was the resultant of this mixing is known as the Yamnaya culture. They consist of horse-riding hordes that invaded Europe about 5000 years ago. With their advent began the Bronze Age. The fourth strand of DNA which is present in all Europeans dates back to this time in history.

The research was conducted by an international team led by scientists from Cambridge University, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. The findings were published on Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

The research points in this direction without a shadow of a doubt. While in the past it was an enigma, now the mystery seems to have been solved. Thus the genetic mixture comes from an amalgam of Eastern European hunter gathering tribes and Caucasus hunter gatherers caught up in the Ice Age.

The Caucasus strand is the fourth one. The genes from thus variant are carried by all Europeans. Previously, three populations served as the components of the European ancestory. But now this fourth one has been revealed and it is quite a revelation alright.

“The question of where the Yamnaya come from has been something of a mystery up to now,” said one of the lead senior authors Dr Andrea Manica, from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology.

“We can now answer that as we’ve found that their genetic make-up is a mix of Eastern European hunter-gatherers and a population from this pocket of Caucasus hunter-gatherers who weathered much of the last Ice Age in apparent isolation. This Caucasus pocket is the fourth major strand of ancient European ancestry, one that we were unaware of until now,” he said.

Basically the genomes were sequenced from two burial sites in Western Georgia. From Africa to Europe, the story of these hordes of human beings is indeed an interesting one. And along the way somewhere the genes underwent a reshuffling.

The proof is all there in the DNA. Ultimately a homogenization of the genes took place. The missing component in the Yamnaya culture was something which had puzzled scientists all along.

But now the code seems to have been broken. Early man had his struggles which were not one but many. And somewhere among the meeting of cultures, the genetic material got swapped which led to variation and hybridization.

Professor Daniel Bradley, leader of the Trinity team, said: “This is a major new piece in the human ancestry jigsaw, the influence of which is now present within almost all populations from the European continent and many beyond.”

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