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The genomic history of the Iberian Peninsula over the past 8000 years

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1230-1234
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav4040

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Genomics of the Iberian Peninsula

Ancient DNA studies have begun to help us understand the genetic history and movements of people across the globe. Focusing on the Iberian Peninsula, Olalde et al. report genome-wide data from 271 ancient individuals from Iberia (see the Perspective by Vander Linden). The findings provide a comprehensive genetic time transect of the region. Linguistics analysis and genetic analysis of archaeological human remains dating from about 7000 years ago to the present elucidate the genetic impact of prehistoric and historic migrations from Europe and North Africa.

Science, this issue p. 1230; see also p. 1153

Abstract

We assembled genome-wide data from 271 ancient Iberians, of whom 176 are from the largely unsampled period after 2000 BCE, thereby providing a high-resolution time transect of the Iberian Peninsula. We document high genetic substructure between northwestern and southeastern hunter-gatherers before the spread of farming. We reveal sporadic contacts between Iberia and North Africa by ~2500 BCE and, by ~2000 BCE, the replacement of 40% of Iberia’s ancestry and nearly 100% of its Y-chromosomes by people with Steppe ancestry. We show that, in the Iron Age, Steppe ancestry had spread not only into Indo-European–speaking regions but also into non-Indo-European–speaking ones, and we reveal that present-day Basques are best described as a typical Iron Age population without the admixture events that later affected the rest of Iberia. Additionally, we document how, beginning at least in the Roman period, the ancestry of the peninsula was transformed by gene flow from North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

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