Research ArticleEVOLUTIONARY GENETICS

Genome-wide data from two early Neolithic East Asian individuals dating to 7700 years ago

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Science Advances  01 Feb 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 2, e1601877
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601877

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Abstract

Ancient genomes have revolutionized our understanding of Holocene prehistory and, particularly, the Neolithic transition in western Eurasia. In contrast, East Asia has so far received little attention, despite representing a core region at which the Neolithic transition took place independently ~3 millennia after its onset in the Near East. We report genome-wide data from two hunter-gatherers from Devil’s Gate, an early Neolithic cave site (dated to ~7.7 thousand years ago) located in East Asia, on the border between Russia and Korea. Both of these individuals are genetically most similar to geographically close modern populations from the Amur Basin, all speaking Tungusic languages, and, in particular, to the Ulchi. The similarity to nearby modern populations and the low levels of additional genetic material in the Ulchi imply a high level of genetic continuity in this region during the Holocene, a pattern that markedly contrasts with that reported for Europe.

Keywords
  • ancient genetics
  • East Asia
  • neolithic
  • Russian Far East
  • human population genetics

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