Oral Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

Genomic History of Upper Paleolithic Europeans (#271)

Qiaomei Fu 1 , Cosimo Posth 2 , Mateja Hajdinjak 3 , Martin Petr 3 , Janet Kelso 3 , Nick Patterson 4 , Svante Pääbo 3 , David Reich 5 , Johannes Krause 2
  1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  2. Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, THURINGIA, Germany
  3. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
  4. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge Massachusetts, USA
  5. Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

Little is currently known about the genetic history of ancient Europeans before the advent of agriculture ~8,500 years ago. Here we have analysed genome-wide data from 51 modern human remains that span around 40,000 years of Eurasian prehistory. Over this time, the proportion of Neanderthal DNA decreased from 3–6% to around 2%, consistent with natural selection against Neanderthal variants in modern humans. Whereas the earliest modern humans in Europe did not contribute substantially to present-day Europeans, all individuals between ~37,000 and ~14,000 years ago descended from a single founder population which forms part of the ancestry of present-day Europeans. A ~35,000-year-old individual from northwest Europe represents an early branch of this founder population which was then displaced across a broad region, before reappearing in southwest Europe during the last ice age ~19,000 years ago. During the major warming period after ~14,000 years ago, a new genetic component related to present-day Near Easterners appears in Europe. These results document how population turnover and migration have been recurring themes of European pre-history.