[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 19-May-2013
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: Hilary Glover
hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22370
BioMed Central

Archaeological genetics: It's not all as old as it at first seems

Genomic analyses suggest that patterns of genetic diversity which indicate population movement may not be as ancient as previously believed, but may be attributable to recent events. This study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Investigative Genetics, based in the Netherlands, is able to genetically characterize geographically separated subpopulations within the country and map them to population movement within the last 2000 years.

Looking at more than 400,000 SNPs (genetic variations) of almost 1000 people across the Netherlands, this study found that the genomic diversity across the Netherlands follows a southeast to northwest gradient and that the Dutch population could be separated out genetically into four geographic groups (south, north, central-west and central-north).

These results could be explained by invoking movement of ancient, Paleolithic-Neolithic humans, similar to that proposed to explain the genetic diversity across central entire Europe. However the data also fits a model involving movement of people within the last 70 generations of modern Dutch, for which there is a wealth of archaeological evidence.

Prof Manfred Kayser from the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, who led the study, commented, "Because of the overwhelming geological and archaeological records for strong genetic discontinuities we explain our findings by recent rather than ancient events in Dutch population history. Our results not only are of epidemiological and forensic relevance but additionally highlight that future population history studies need to take into account recent demography before assuming all genetic variation observed is due to ancient events."

###

Media Contact

Dr Hilary Glover
Scientific Press Officer, BioMed Central
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3192 2370
Mob: +44 (0) 778 698 1967
Email: hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com

Notes to Editors

1. Clinal distribution of human genomic diversity across The Netherlands despite archaeological evidence for genetic discontinuities in Dutch population history

Oscar Lao, Eveline Altena, Christian Becker, Silke Brauer, Thirsa Kraaijenbrink, Mannis van Oven, Peter Nürnberg, Peter de Knijff and Manfred Kayser

Investigative Genetics 2013, 4:7 doi:10.1186/2041-2223-4-9

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

2. Investigative Genetics is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal, which publishes articles on the development and application of molecular genetics in a wide range of science disciplines with societal relevance. These include forensic issues and legal medicine, evolutionary, anthropological and historical studies, as well as epidemiology and biosafety.

3. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. @BioMedCentral



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.