Four millennia of Iberian biomolecular prehistory illustrate the impact of prehistoric migrations at the far end of Eurasia.

Valdiosera C, Günther T, Vera-Rodríguez JC, Ureña I, Iriarte E, Rodríguez-Varela R, Simões LG, Martínez-Sánchez RM, Svensson EM, Malmström H, Rodríguez L, Bermúdez de Castro JM, Carbonell E, Alday A, Hernández Vera JA, Götherström A, Carretero JM, Arsuaga JL, Smith CI, Jakobsson M

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115 (13) 3428-3433 [2018-03-27; online 2018-03-12]

Population genomic studies of ancient human remains have shown how modern-day European population structure has been shaped by a number of prehistoric migrations. The Neolithization of Europe has been associated with large-scale migrations from Anatolia, which was followed by migrations of herders from the Pontic steppe at the onset of the Bronze Age. Southwestern Europe was one of the last parts of the continent reached by these migrations, and modern-day populations from this region show intriguing similarities to the initial Neolithic migrants. Partly due to climatic conditions that are unfavorable for DNA preservation, regional studies on the Mediterranean remain challenging. Here, we present genome-wide sequence data from 13 individuals combined with stable isotope analysis from the north and south of Iberia covering a four-millennial temporal transect (7,500-3,500 BP). Early Iberian farmers and Early Central European farmers exhibit significant genetic differences, suggesting two independent fronts of the Neolithic expansion. The first Neolithic migrants that arrived in Iberia had low levels of genetic diversity, potentially reflecting a small number of individuals; this diversity gradually increased over time from mixing with local hunter-gatherers and potential population expansion. The impact of post-Neolithic migrations on Iberia was much smaller than for the rest of the continent, showing little external influence from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. Paleodietary reconstruction shows that these populations have a remarkable degree of dietary homogeneity across space and time, suggesting a strong reliance on terrestrial food resources despite changing culture and genetic make-up.

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PubMed 29531053

DOI 10.1073/pnas.1717762115

Crossref 10.1073/pnas.1717762115

pii: 1717762115
pmc: PMC5879675