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Curr Biol. 2017 Feb 20;27(4):576-582. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.060. Epub 2017 Feb 2.

The Neolithic Transition in the Baltic Was Not Driven by Admixture with Early European Farmers.

Author information

1
Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland; Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. Electronic address: erj35@cam.ac.uk.
2
Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia, Kalpaka Bulvāris 4, Rīga 1050, Latvia.
3
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.
4
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER, UK.
5
Division of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK.
6
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. Electronic address: am315@cam.ac.uk.
7
School of Archaeology and Earth Institute, Belfield, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland. Electronic address: ron.pinhasi@ucd.ie.
8
Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Electronic address: dbradley@tcd.ie.

Abstract

The Neolithic transition was a dynamic time in European prehistory of cultural, social, and technological change. Although this period has been well explored in central Europe using ancient nuclear DNA [1, 2], its genetic impact on northern and eastern parts of this continent has not been as extensively studied. To broaden our understanding of the Neolithic transition across Europe, we analyzed eight ancient genomes: six samples (four to ∼1- to 4-fold coverage) from a 3,500 year temporal transect (∼8,300-4,800 calibrated years before present) through the Baltic region dating from the Mesolithic to the Late Neolithic and two samples spanning the Mesolithic-Neolithic boundary from the Dnieper Rapids region of Ukraine. We find evidence that some hunter-gatherer ancestry persisted across the Neolithic transition in both regions. However, we also find signals consistent with influxes of non-local people, most likely from northern Eurasia and the Pontic Steppe. During the Late Neolithic, this Steppe-related impact coincides with the proposed emergence of Indo-European languages in the Baltic region [3, 4]. These influences are distinct from the early farmer admixture that transformed the genetic landscape of central Europe, suggesting that changes associated with the Neolithic package in the Baltic were not driven by the same Anatolian-sourced genetic exchange.

KEYWORDS:

Baltic; Neolithic transition; Ukraine; ancient DNA; genomics; population genetics

PMID:
28162894
PMCID:
PMC5321670
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.060
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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