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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.

Author information

1
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
2
Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, School of Biological Sciences and The Environment Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
3
Oxford Archaeology East, 15 Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8SQ, UK.
4
Oxford Archaeology South, Janus House, Osney Mead, Oxford OX2 0ES, UK.
5
School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK.

Abstract

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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PMID:
26783965
PMCID:
PMC4735688
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms10408
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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