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Curr Biol. 2017 Nov 6;27(21):3396-3402.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.059. Epub 2017 Oct 26.

Genomic Analyses of Pre-European Conquest Human Remains from the Canary Islands Reveal Close Affinity to Modern North Africans.

Author information

1
Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden; Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humano, 28029 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: ricardo.rodriguez.varela@arklab.su.se.
2
Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden.
3
Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Anatomy, Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK.
5
Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humano, 28029 Madrid, Spain; Departamento de Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain.
6
Department of Archaeology, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St. Mary's, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, UK; Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7WZ, UK; Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.
7
Centro Mixto, Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Instituto de Salud Carlos III de Evolución y Comportamiento Humano, 28029 Madrid, Spain; Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia.
8
Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden; Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK. Electronic address: linusflink@hotmail.com.

Abstract

The origins and genetic affinity of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands, commonly known as Guanches, are poorly understood. Though radiocarbon dates on archaeological remains such as charcoal, seeds, and domestic animal bones suggest that people have inhabited the islands since the 5th century BCE [1-3], it remains unclear how many times, and by whom, the islands were first settled [4, 5]. Previously published ancient DNA analyses of uniparental genetic markers have shown that the Guanches carried common North African Y chromosome markers (E-M81, E-M78, and J-M267) and mitochondrial lineages such as U6b, in addition to common Eurasian haplogroups [6-8]. These results are in agreement with some linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological data indicating an origin from a North African Berber-like population [1, 4, 9]. However, to date there are no published Guanche autosomal genomes to help elucidate and directly test this hypothesis. To resolve this, we generated the first genome-wide sequence data and mitochondrial genomes from eleven archaeological Guanche individuals originating from Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Five of the individuals (directly radiocarbon dated to a time transect spanning the 7th-11th centuries CE) yielded sufficient autosomal genome coverage (0.21× to 3.93×) for population genomic analysis. Our results show that the Guanches were genetically similar over time and that they display the greatest genetic affinity to extant Northwest Africans, strongly supporting the hypothesis of a Berber-like origin. We also estimate that the Guanches have contributed 16%-31% autosomal ancestry to modern Canary Islanders, here represented by two individuals from Gran Canaria.

KEYWORDS:

Canary Islands; Guanche; aboriginal populations; admixture; ancient DNA; archaeogenomics; colonization; population genomics

PMID:
29107554
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.059
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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