CEXS-UPF: Probing the origin of the world's first farmers

CEXS-UPF: Probing the origin of the world's first farmers

News from CEXS-UPF

scientific team led by Harvard University in collaboration to the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and Pompeu Fabra University, has carried out the first large-scale, genome-wide analyses of ancient human remains from the Near East. The results shed light on the genetic identities and population dynamics of the world's first farmers.

The study, published in Nature on July 25, reveals three genetically distinct farming populations living in the Near East at the dawn of agriculture 12,000 to 8,000 years ago: two newly described groups in Iran and the Levant and a previously reported group in Anatolia, in what is now Turkey. The findings indicate that revolutionary farming technologies spread across the region rather than the physical expansion of the groups living there.

The study compared the genomes to one another as well as to those of nearly 240 previously studied ancient people from nearby regions and about 2,600 present-day people. David Comas, IBE researcher and current director of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences of UPF, participated in the genome-analyses of the present-day individuals, who reside in the Mediterranean zone. "The comparison of ancient DNA data with current data from Europe and the Middle East has allowed us to reconstruct the history of the ancestors of human populations that occupied these territories. This comparison is essential as populations currently occupying a territory may not represent those who occupied in past times due to multiple migrations of our species. "

More information:

Lazaridis, I. et al. Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East. Nature (2016)