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FLOWGENE Report Summary

Project ID: 311413
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Sweden

Final Report Summary - FLOWGENE (Following the Genomic Footprints of Early Europeans)

Genomic information from ancient remains is beginning to show its full potential for learning about the human demographic history, including the debated agricultural transition. We have generated and analyzed genomic data from several European Neolithic farmers and hunter-gatherers that illuminate the impact of the agricultural revolution on patterns of genomic variation in Europe. Stone-Age European individuals show remarkable population structure corresponding to their material culture association and the farmers are genetically most similar to extant southern Europeans, contrasting sharply to the hunter-gatherers whose genetic signature is unique, but closest to extant northern Europeans. The genomic make-up of present-day Europeans is intermediate among three main groups, including Neolithic farmers, Bronze Age pastoralists and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers suggesting that extensive admixture – including around the time of the disappearance of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle – eventually shaped the patterns of variation. Looking beyond Europe, we show that it was farming groups from central Anatolia that brought agriculture across Europe. Taken together, these findings show that lifestyle was the major determinant of genetic similarity in pre-historic Europe rather than geography as in modern-day Europe.

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