The spatiotemporal patterns of major human admixture events during the European Holocene

Recent studies have shown that admixture has been pervasive throughout human history. While several methods exist for dating admixture in contemporary populations, they are not suitable for sparse, low coverage ancient genomic data. Thus, we developed DATES (Distribution of Ancestry Tracts of Evolutionary Signals) that leverages ancestry covariance patterns across the genome of a single individual to infer the timing of admixture. DATES provides reliable estimates under various demographic scenarios and outperforms available methods for ancient DNA applications. Using DATES on~1100 ancient genomes from sixteen regions in Europe and west Asia, we reconstruct the chronology of the formation of the ancestral populations and the fine-scale details of the spread of Neolithic farming and Steppe pastoralist-related ancestry across Europe. By studying the genetic formation of Anatolian farmers, we infer that gene flow related to Iranian Neolithic farmers occurred before 9600 BCE, predating the advent of agriculture in Anatolia. Contrary to the archaeological evidence, we estimate that early Steppe pastoralist groups (Yamnaya and Afanasievo) were genetically formed more than a millennium before the start of Steppe pastoralism. Our analyses provide new insights on the origins and spread of farming and Indo-European languages, highlighting the power of genomic dating methods to elucidate the legacy of human migrations.Read more…

Recent studies have shown that admixture has been pervasive throughout human history. While several methods exist for dating admixture in contemporary populations, they are not suitable for sparse, low coverage ancient genomic data. Thus, we developed DATES (Distribution of Ancestry Tracts of Evolutionary Signals) that leverages ancestry covariance patterns across the genome of a single individual to infer the timing of admixture. DATES provides reliable estimates under various demographic scenarios and outperforms available methods for ancient DNA applications. Using DATES on~1100 ancient genomes from sixteen regions in Europe and west Asia, we reconstruct the chronology of the formation of the ancestral populations and the fine-scale details of the spread of Neolithic farming and Steppe pastoralist-related ancestry across Europe. By studying the genetic formation of Anatolian farmers, we infer that gene flow related to Iranian Neolithic farmers occurred before 9600 BCE, predating the advent of agriculture in Anatolia. Contrary to the archaeological evidence, we estimate that early Steppe pastoralist groups (Yamnaya and Afanasievo) were genetically formed more than a millennium before the start of Steppe pastoralism. Our analyses provide new insights on the origins and spread of farming and Indo-European languages, highlighting the power of genomic dating methods to elucidate the legacy of human migrations.Read more…


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