The Role of Recent Admixture in Forming the Contemporary West Eurasian Genomic Landscape

George B J Busby, Garrett Hellenthal, Francesco Montinaro, Sergio Tofanelli, Kazima Bulayeva, Igor Rudan, Tatijana Zemunik, Caroline Hayward, Draga Toncheva, Sena Karachanak-Yankova, Desislava Nesheva, Paolo Anagnostou, Francesco Cali, Francesca Brisighelli, Valentino Romano, Gerard Lefranc, Catherine Buresi, Jemni Ben Chibani, Amel Haj-Khelil, Sabri DendenRafal Ploski, Pawel Krajewski, Tor Hervig, Torolf Moen, Rene J Herrera, James F Wilson, Simon Myers, Cristian Capelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Over the past few years, studies of DNA isolated from human fossils and archaeological remains have generated considerable novel insight into the history of our species. Several landmark papers have described the genomes of ancient humans across West Eurasia, demonstrating the presence of large-scale, dynamic population movements over the last 10,000 years, such that ancestry across present-day populations is likely to be a mixture of several ancient groups [1-7]. While these efforts are bringing the details of West Eurasian prehistory into increasing focus, studies aimed at understanding the processes behind the generation of the current West Eurasian genetic landscape have been limited by the number of populations sampled or have been either too regional or global in their outlook [8-11]. Here, using recently described haplotype-based techniques [11], we present the results of a systematic survey of recent admixture history across Western Eurasia and show that admixture is a universal property across almost all groups. Admixture in all regions except North Western Europe involved the influx of genetic material from outside of West Eurasia, which we date to specific time periods. Within Northern, Western, and Central Europe, admixture tended to occur between local groups during the period 300 to 1200 CE. Comparisons of the genetic profiles of West Eurasians before and after admixture show that population movements within the last 1,500 years are likely to have maintained differentiation among groups. Our analysis provides a timeline of the gene flow events that have generated the contemporary genetic landscape of West Eurasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2518-26
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent biology : CB
Issue number19
Early online date17 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2015


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