Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update (7 October 2015, 24 Tishrei, 5776)
1. What Your DNA Says About Medieval History
2. Ancient Europeans Mysteriously Vanished 4,500 Years AgoÂ (withÂ Brit-Am Comment)
3. One million Brits 'descended from Romans' by Nick Collins
1. What Your DNA Says About Medieval History
A new study uses genetic data from living people to trace millennia-old migration patterns.
Earlier this year, researchers from Oxford University published a study showing how the slave trade and colonization shaped the genetics of North and South America.
Analyzing more than 4,000 DNA samples from across both continents, as well as Europe and Africa, they were able to detect patterns in line with what historians knew about migrations across the Atlantic.
Many people in Colombia and Puerto Rico had Sicilian ancestry, for example, on account of the wave of Italian immigrants to those areas in the 1800s and early 1900s. Most African Americans shared a genetic ancestor with the Yoruba of West Africa, which supplied around one-third of the slaves sent to the Americas in the 1600s.
... among northern Europeans, highest rate of admixing took place, around the late first millennium C.E., a time known to have involved significant upheaval in Europe, while admixture between north African and southern European populations was dated to a time span, "consistent with migrations associated with the Arabic Conquest of the Iberian peninsula".
...Capelli and his colleagues discovered evidence for an influx of Mongolians into Europe that predated the reign of Ghengis Khan.
2. Ancient Europeans Mysteriously Vanished 4,500 Years AgoÂ (withÂ Â Brit-Am Comment)
by Tia Ghose, Senior WriterÂ Â |Â Â April 23, 2013 11:09am ET
The article below says in effect that the population of Europe completely changed about 2500 BCE and that in the west the change was characterized by Megalithic monuments.
We can argue about the dates but the basic fact of change appears to be correct.
The genetic lineage of Europe mysteriously transformed about 4,500 years ago, new research suggests.
The findings, detailed today (April 23) in the journal Nature Communications, were drawn from several skeletons unearthed in central Europe that were up to 7,500 years old.
"What is intriguing is that the genetic markers of this first pan-European culture, which was clearly very successful, were then suddenly replaced around 4,500 years ago, and we don't know why," said study co-author Alan Cooper, of the University of Adelaide Australian Center for Ancient DNA, in a statement. "Something major happened, and the hunt is now on to find out what that was."
The new study also confirms that people sweeping out from Turkey colonized Europe, likely as a part of the agricultural revolution, reaching Germany about 7,500 years ago.
For decades, researchers have wondered whether people, or just ideas, spread from the Middle East during the agricultural revolution that occurred after the Mesolithic period.
To find out, Cooper and his colleagues analyzed mitochondrial DNA, which resides in the cells' energy-making structures and is passed on through the maternal line, from 37 skeletal remains from Germany and two from Italy; the skeletons belonged to humans who lived in several different cultures that flourished between 7,500 and 2,500 years ago. The team looked a DNA specifically from a certain genetic group, called haplogroup h, which is found widely throughout Europe but is less common in East and Central Asia.
The researchers found that the earliest farmers in Germany were closely related to Near Eastern and Anatolian people, suggesting that the agricultural revolution did indeed bring migrations of people into Europe who replaced early hunter-gatherers.
But that initial influx isn't a major part of Europe's genetic heritage today.
Instead, about 5,000 to 4,000 years ago, the genetic profile changes radically, suggesting that some mysterious event led to a huge turnover in the population that made up Europe.
The Bell Beaker culture, which emerged from the Iberian Peninsula around 2800 B.C., may have played a role in this genetic turnover. The culture, which may have been responsible for erecting some of the megaliths at Stonehenge, is named for its distinctive bell-shaped ceramics and its rich grave goods. The culture also played a role in the expansion of Celtic languages along the coast.
"We have established that the genetic foundations for modern Europe were only established in the Mid-Neolithic, after this major genetic transition around 4,000 years ago," study co-author Wolfgang Haak, also of the Australian Center for Ancient DNA, said in a statement. "This genetic diversity was then modified further by a series of incoming and expanding cultures from Iberia and Eastern Europe through the Late Neolithic."
3. One million Brits 'descended from Romans'
By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent
6:54PM GMT 22 Feb 2013
The Romans departed abruptly in the early fifth century, leaving behind relics of their rule including Hadrian's Wall along with a host of towns, roads and encampments.
But perhaps the most enduring sign of their legacy is in our genes, experts claim, with an estimated million British men descending from the invading forces.
A genetic study of five thousand people found that up to four million men in England and Wales carry distinctive genetic signatures which are most commonly found, and likely have their origin, in Italy.
Although it is impossible to prove whether any individual person's genes were introduced during the Roman occupation of Britain, and not before or after, researchers estimate that the influx of tens of thousands soldiers was responsible for at least a quarter of the total.
Following their arrival in AD43 Romans are thought to have accounted for between four and eight per cent of all men in Britain, Â a much greater proportion than at any other point in history.
The DNA markers are much rarer in Ireland, where there was no Roman invasion, and Scotland where the armies' presence was limited to a brief occupation of some southern regions.
Researchers examined DNA from the Y chromosome, which is only passed on by men, and identified five rare patterns which are unusually common among English, Welsh and particularly Italian men.
The most prominent pattern, known as Alpine, R1b-S28, is found in 13 per cent of men in Italy and 6.5 per cent in England and Wales but just 4.3 per cent in Scotland and 1.8 per cent in Ireland, for example.
Applying the findings to the whole population, this suggests 1.6 million English and Welsh-born men carry the Alpine marker alone. A further 2.3 million English and Welsh men have one of the four other genetic signatures identified by the study.
Although many of the lineages may have begun before or after the invasion, the researchers estimated that at least a million of the men are likely to be direct descendants of Romans.
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