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Thread: Slight sub-Saharan ancestry found in prehistoric Iberians (Gonzalez-Fortes et al 2019)146 days old

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    Default Slight sub-Saharan ancestry found in prehistoric Iberians (Gonzalez-Fortes et al 2019)

    A western route of prehistoric human migration from Africa into the Iberian Peninsula

    Being at the western fringe of Europe, Iberia had a peculiar prehistory and a complex pattern of Neolithization. A few studies, all based on modern populations, reported the presence of DNA of likely African origin in this region, generally concluding it was the result of recent gene flow, probably during the Islamic period. Here, we provide evidence of much older gene flow from Africa to Iberia by sequencing whole genomes from four human remains from northern Portugal and southern Spain dated around 4000 years BP (from the Middle Neolithic to the Bronze Age). We found one of them to carry an unequivocal sub-Saharan mitogenome of most probably West or West-Central African origin, to our knowledge never reported before in prehistoric remains outside Africa. Our analyses of ancient nuclear genomes show small but significant levels of sub-Saharan African affinity in several ancient Iberian samples, which indicates that what we detected was not an occasional individual phenomenon, but an admixture event recognizable at the population level. We interpret this result as evidence of an early migration process from Africa into the Iberian Peninsula through a western route, possibly across the Strait of Gibraltar.
    Figures from the study:

    (Unfortunately, any kind of African contribution to the sampled Iberian aDNA isn't too apparent in the ADMIXTURE charts for some reason.)

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    Seems like there was back and forth migrations between Northwest Africa and Iberia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlessedbyHorus View Post
    Seems like there was back and forth migrations between Northwest Africa and Iberia.
    ofc only 15km to reach and during ice ages they are both connected by land...but it seems that there were more iberians who came in north africa than the opposite especially when we look at the % of the iberian component in modern maghrebis.

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    COV20126 (3600 yBP) has haplogroup G2a typical of Early Neolithic farmers in Europe, while its mtDNA haplogroup is assigned to haplogroup L2a1, which is of African origin. Neolithic individuals from the Iberian Peninsula carried Y haplogroups known to be common across Europe during the earlier Neolithic period, such as I2a and G2. The ancestry of the Neolithic farmers of Britain was derived from migrants who spread along the Atlantic coast. Strangely, COV20126 also has some Steppe ancestry, carrying a Caucasian component associated with ancient individuals from the Russian Steppes.

    COV20126, the 3600 yBP individual from Córdoba was assigned to L2a1 l, a typical sub-Saharan haplogroup, to our knowledge never described before in ancient individuals outside Africa. In the phylogeny of figure 2, built on only ancient mtDNAs, COV20126 clusters together with an ancient individual from Tanzania belonging to haplogroup L2a1 (I3 726, dated around 3100 yBP, [32]), basal to all the Eurasian clades (figure 2). Based only on the 14C dates of the individuals in our ancient genomes phylogeny, we estimated the divergence time between COV20126's clade and the Eurasian lineages at ca 73 000 yBP (95% highest posterior density (HPD): 63 400–83 800 yBP).

    COV20126's Y chromosome belongs to the G2a haplogroup, described as typical of Early Neolithic farmers in Europe ([13,31,45,46]; electronic supplementary material, figure S2). Therefore, based on uniparental markers (mtDNA and Y chromosome), COV20126 seems to have ancestors from both Mediterranean shores; the question is to what extent the two ancestral populations contributed to the recombining part of his nuclear genome.

    At K = 7, a minor fraction of a genome component associated with the Caucasian hunter–gatherers (CHG) and Russian Steppes is evident in COV20126, as well as in two Spanish samples from the same BA period [13,47] (figure 1c; electronic supplementary material, data S3). The presence of this component only in COV20126, i.e. the most recent individual we analysed in the present study, is in agreement with previous work reporting a late arrival of the Pontic Steppe ancestry into the Iberian gene pool [9,46,48,49].

    In this study, we found indisputable evidence of the presence of a mitochondrial sequence of sub-Saharan African origin in a 3600 years-old sample, COV20126, from southern Spain. Considering the absence of any closely related mitogenomes in prehistoric Europe, it is difficult to explain this finding by a process other than cross-Mediterranean gene flow before the BA.

    Although COV20216's nuclear genome showed no obvious traces of African admixture, several other samples from Iberia did; in particular, relatively late samples (from the Middle Neolithic and Chalcolithic) collected along the Mediterranean area and on the Spanish plateau. The increased, significant similarity to sub-Saharan African samples shown by these individuals is not matched, as far as we could test, elsewhere in Europe (figure 3 and electronic supplementary material, table S4).
    Last edited by ThirdTerm; 2019-01-24 at 00:42.

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