Oral Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

The Neolithic Revolution developed among geographically adjacent but genetically distinct populations (#273)

Marcos Gallego Llorente 1 , Sarah Connell 2 , Eppie Jones 1 , Deborah Merrett 3 , Yeonsu Jeon 4 , Anders Eriksson 1 , Veronika Siska 1 , Cristina Gamba 2 , Christopher Meiklejohn 5 , Robert Beyer 1 , Sungwon Jeon 4 , Yunsung Cho 4 , Michi Hofreiter 6 , Jong Bhak 4 , Andrea Manica 1 , Ron Pinhasi 2
  1. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, United Kingdom
  2. School of Archaeology and Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
  3. Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
  4. The Genomics Institute, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, South Korea
  5. Department of Anthropology, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  6. Evolutionary Adaptive Genomics, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

The shift from hunter-gathering to food production, the so-called Neolithic Revolution, profoundly changed human societies. Whilst much is known about the mode of spread of people and domesticates into Europe during the Neolithic period, the origin of this cultural package in the Ancient Near East and Anatolia is poorly understood. By sequencing the whole genome (1.39x) of an early Neolithic woman from Ganj Dareh, in the Zagros Mountains of Iran, we show that the eastern part of the Ancient Near East was inhabited by a population genetically most similar to hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus but distinct from the Neolithic Anatolian people who later brought food production into Europe. Despite their key role in developing the Neolithic package, the inhabitants of Ganj Dareh made little direct genetic contribution to modern European populations, suggesting they were somewhat isolated from other populations in this region. Their high frequency of short runs of homozygosity, comparable to other early Neolithic farmers, suggests that they overwintered the Last Glacial Maximum in a climatically favourable area, where they may have received a genetic contribution from a population basal to modern Eurasians. Thus, the Neolithic package was developed by at least two genetically-distinct groups which coexisted next to each other, implying a degree of cultural yet little genetic exchange among them.