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PLoS Genet. 2014 May 8;10(5):e1004353. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004353. eCollection 2014 May.

Population genomic analysis of ancient and modern genomes yields new insights into the genetic ancestry of the Tyrolean Iceman and the genetic structure of Europe.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
2
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF), PRBB, Barcelona, Spain.
3
CRS4 (Centre for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia), Pula, Italy.
4
Istituto di Ricerca Genetica e Biomedica (IRGB), CNR, Monserrato, Italy.
5
Istituto di Ricerca Genetica e Biomedica (IRGB), CNR, Monserrato, Italy; Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America; Università degli Studi di Sassari, Dip. Scienze Biomediche, Sassari, Italy.
6
Istituto di Ricerca Genetica e Biomedica (IRGB), CNR, Monserrato, Italy; Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.
7
Laboratorios de Investigación y Desarrollo, Facultad de Ciencias y Filosofía, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.
8
National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria.
9
Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Sofia, Bulgaria.
10
Life Technologies, Beverly, Massachusetts, United States of America.
11
University Hospital, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany.
12
EURAC, Institute for mummies and the Iceman, Bolzano, Italy.
13
Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.

Abstract

Genome sequencing of the 5,300-year-old mummy of the Tyrolean Iceman, found in 1991 on a glacier near the border of Italy and Austria, has yielded new insights into his origin and relationship to modern European populations. A key finding of that study was an apparent recent common ancestry with individuals from Sardinia, based largely on the Y chromosome haplogroup and common autosomal SNP variation. Here, we compiled and analyzed genomic datasets from both modern and ancient Europeans, including genome sequence data from over 400 Sardinians and two ancient Thracians from Bulgaria, to investigate this result in greater detail and determine its implications for the genetic structure of Neolithic Europe. Using whole-genome sequencing data, we confirm that the Iceman is, indeed, most closely related to Sardinians. Furthermore, we show that this relationship extends to other individuals from cultural contexts associated with the spread of agriculture during the Neolithic transition, in contrast to individuals from a hunter-gatherer context. We hypothesize that this genetic affinity of ancient samples from different parts of Europe with Sardinians represents a common genetic component that was geographically widespread across Europe during the Neolithic, likely related to migrations and population expansions associated with the spread of agriculture.

PMID:
24809476
PMCID:
PMC4014435
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1004353
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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