Thursday, June 11, 2015

DNA: Are We Yamnaya?

Today Nature magazine published a fascinating article titled "DNA data explosion lights up the Bronze Age" highlighting a study led by the palaeogenomicists Morten Allentoft and Eske Willerslev from the Centre for Geogenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The quotes and photo below are from the Museum's website:
"Modern European and Central Asian peoples are genetically speaking not more than a couple of thousand years old. It was during the Bronze Age that the last major chapters were written in the story of the genetic past of Europe and central Asia. How it happened has been intensively debated among archaeologists. In a study lead by the Centre for GeoGenetics, geneticists and archaeologists from Gothenburg University have generated the largest ancient genomic study to date, and in doing so established how the foundation for modern Europe and Central Asia was laid. Their results are published in the scientific journal Nature."
[Yamnaya skull from the Samara region coloured with red ochre. Photo: Natalia Shishlina.]
"One of the main findings from the study is how these migrations resulted in huge changes to the European gene-pool, in particular conferring a large degree of admixture on the present populations. Genetically speaking, ancient Europeans from the time post these migrations are much more similar to modern Europeans than those prior the Bronze Age."
Since AncestryDNA's estimate of my ethnicity includes 3% "West Asian," I wondering now if this trace represents some Yamnaya ancestors.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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