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Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture in Eastern Africa

Science  13 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6262, pp. 820-822
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2879

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Ancient African helps to explain the present

Tracing the migrations of anatomically modern humans has been complicated by human movements both out of and into Africa, especially in relatively recent history. Gallego Llorente et al. sequenced an Ethiopian individual, “Mota,” who lived approximately 4500 years ago, predating one such wave of individuals into Africa from Eurasia. The genetic information from Mota suggests that present-day Sardinians were the likely source of the Eurasian backflow. Furthermore, 4 to 7% of most African genomes, including Yoruba and Mbuti Pygmies, originated from this Eurasian gene flow.

Science, this issue p. 820

Abstract

Characterizing genetic diversity in Africa is a crucial step for most analyses reconstructing the evolutionary history of anatomically modern humans. However, historic migrations from Eurasia into Africa have affected many contemporary populations, confounding inferences. Here, we present a 12.5× coverage ancient genome of an Ethiopian male (“Mota”) who lived approximately 4500 years ago. We use this genome to demonstrate that the Eurasian backflow into Africa came from a population closely related to Early Neolithic farmers, who had colonized Europe 4000 years earlier.

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