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Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 19;7:10408. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10408.

Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history.

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Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, School of Biological Sciences and The Environment Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
Oxford Archaeology East, 15 Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8SQ, UK.
Oxford Archaeology South, Janus House, Osney Mead, Oxford OX2 0ES, UK.
School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK.


British population history has been shaped by a series of immigrations, including the early Anglo-Saxon migrations after 400 CE. It remains an open question how these events affected the genetic composition of the current British population. Here, we present whole-genome sequences from 10 individuals excavated close to Cambridge in the East of England, ranging from the late Iron Age to the middle Anglo-Saxon period. By analysing shared rare variants with hundreds of modern samples from Britain and Europe, we estimate that on average the contemporary East English population derives 38% of its ancestry from Anglo-Saxon migrations. We gain further insight with a new method, rarecoal, which infers population history and identifies fine-scale genetic ancestry from rare variants. Using rarecoal we find that the Anglo-Saxon samples are closely related to modern Dutch and Danish populations, while the Iron Age samples share ancestors with multiple Northern European populations including Britain.

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