Montag, 5. März 2007

Beginning of agriculture in China by migrations from Europe?

Last year in the journal "Archäologie in Deutschland" there were given hints by Detlef Gronenborn (pdf., german language), that archaeological connections exist between the first european farmers (the Linearbandkeramiker) and new detected archaeological cultures in Russia (Elshan-Culture) and Northern China. (More from Detlef Gronenborn here - also in English.)

Now it seems that we have ancient genetic data for this connections as well. And that would mean, that these connections were'nt only cultural but also genetic. This would be a very great surprise.
The Phylogeography of Haplogroup N1a

Gokcumen O et al.

Recent studies have revealed a complex geographic distribution of haplogroup N1a. This rare and distinctive lineage is widely distributed across Eurasia and Africa, but always found at very low frequencies. However, despite its rarity, the genetic diversity within N1a has remained relatively high (h=0.9605). The reduced median network of N1a haplotypes not only reflects this level of diversity, but also exhibits several relatively well-defined branches. The distribution of N1a is intriguing because of revealing previously unrecognized connections between populations. What makes N1a even more interesting is the prevalence of this lineage in ancient European populations. Haak et al. (2005) found that 25% of their European Neolithic samples belonged to N1a and dated to ~5000 BCE, whereas the frequency of this lineage in contemporary Europeans is only ~0.2%. In addition, an Iron Age skeleton from Kazakhstan had an N1a haplotype, suggesting the existence of this lineage in the Altai Republic in ~500BCE (Ricaut et al. 2004). Indeed, we found several haplogroup N1a mtDNAs in indigenous Altaians and Altaian Kazakhs. To further elucidate the phylogeography of this lineage in Central Asia, we sequenced the whole mtDNA genomes of our N1a haplotypes, and analyzed the resulting data with several quantitative methods and simulation programs to estimate their expansion times and spatial distribution in Eurasia. Our findings suggest that there are two well-defined sublineages within N1a, and that the dispersal of this haplogroup could be associated with the Neolithic expansion and with prehistoric interactions between Central Asian and European populations.

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