Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ancient DNA Reveals Origins Of First European Farmers

A team of international researchers led by ancient DNA experts from the University of Adelaide has helped resolve the longstanding issue of the origins of the people who introduced farming to Europe some 8000 years ago. A detailed genetic study of one of the first farming communities in Europe, from central Germany, reveals marked similarities with populations living in the Ancient Near East (modern-day Turkey, Iraq and other countries) rather than those from Europe. The results of the study will today in the online peer-reviewed science journal PLoS Biology.

Lead author Dr Wolfgang Haak, of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, says "We have shown that the first farmers in Europe had a much greater genetic input from the Near East and Anatolia, than from populations of Stone Age hunter-gatherers who already existed in the area."

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