Upper Palaeolithic genomes reveal deep roots of modern Eurasians

Authors/others:Jones, Eppie R. (University of Dublin); Gonzalez-Fortes, Gloria (Universität Potsdam); Connell, Sarah (University College Dublin); Siska, Veronika (University of Cambridge); Eriksson, Anders (University of Cambridge); Martiniano, Rui (University of Dublin); McLaughlin, Russell L (University of Dublin); Gallego-Llorente, Marcos (University of Cambridge); Cassidy, Lara M (University of Dublin); Gamba, Cristina (University of Dublin); Meshveliani, Tengiz (Georgian National Museum); Bar-Yosef, Ofer (Harvard University); Müller, Werner (Université de Neuchâtel); Belfer-Cohen, Anna (Hebrew University Jerusalem); Matskevich, Zinovi (Israel Antiquities Authority); Jakeli, Nino (Georgian National Museum); Higham, Thomas F G (University of Oxford); Currat, Mathias (Université de Genève); Lordkipanidze, David (Georgian National Museum); Hofreiter, Michael (Universität Potsdam); Manica, Andrea (University of Cambridge); Pinhasi, Ron (University of Dublin); Bradley, Daniel G. (University of Dublin)

We extend the scope of European palaeogenomics by sequencing the genomes of Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,300 years old, 1.4-fold coverage) and Mesolithic (9,700 years old, 15.4-fold) males from western Georgia in the Caucasus and a Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,700 years old, 9.5-fold) male from Switzerland. While we detect Late Palaeolithic-Mesolithic genomic continuity in both regions, we find that Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) belong to a distinct ancient clade that split from western hunter-gatherers ∼45 kya, shortly after the expansion of anatomically modern humans into Europe and from the ancestors of Neolithic farmers ∼25 kya, around the Last Glacial Maximum. CHG genomes significantly contributed to the Yamnaya steppe herders who migrated into Europe ∼3,000 BC, supporting a formative Caucasus influence on this important Early Bronze age culture. CHG left their imprint on modern populations from the Caucasus and also central and south Asia possibly marking the arrival of Indo-Aryan languages.

Date of publication:16.11.2015
Journal title:Nature Communications
Peer reviewed:true
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9912
Publication Type:Article