DNA tracks ancient Mediterranean farmers to Scandinavia
Modern Europeans’ genetic profile may have been partly cultivated by early Mediterranean farmers who moved to what’s now Scandinavia, where they paired up with resident hunter-gatherers.
DNA taken from 5,000-year-old skeletons previously excavated in Sweden unveils a scenario in which agricultural newcomers from the south interbred with northern hunter-gatherers, say evolutionary genetics graduate student Pontus Skoglund of Uppsala University in Sweden and his colleagues. Their findings feed into a picture of many early migrations of farmers into Europe, which often would have included interactions with local hunter-gatherers.
Pieces of DNA extracted from an ancient farmer’s remains buried in southern Sweden display gene variants most like those found in people now living in Greece and Cyprus, the scientists report in the April 27 Science. DNA retrieved from the bones of three hunter-gatherers interred on an island off Sweden’s coast contains distinctive gene variants that most resemble those of native Finns