Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

The study, published today in Nature Communications, reveals a dramatic series of events including major migrations from both Western Europe and Eurasia, and signs of an unexplained genetic turnover about 4000-5000 years ago.

The research was performed at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD). Researchers used DNA extracted from bone and teeth samples from prehistoric human skeletons to sequence a group of maternal genetic lineages that are now carried by up to 45% of Europeans.

The international team also included the University of Mainz in Germany and the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project.

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