Cutting Edge Research If You Can Get It

Europe in the Year 3000 BCE

The archeogenetics of Europe and transition from hunter-gatherers to Neolithic agricultural societies made a quantum leap forward with the publication of an article investigating haplogroup H, the type carried by about half of Europeans today. But you may have trouble accessing the research in the new journal Nature Communications. I haven’t found one ordinary mortal who has actually read the article, because few libraries and hardly any individuals can afford the crushingly expensive subscription to Nature Communications.

So here is an abstract.

Neolithic mitochondrial haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans


Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA variability (>40%), yet was less common (~19%) among Early Neolithic farmers (~5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Here we investigate this major component of the maternal population history of modern Europeans and sequence 39 complete haplogroup H mitochondrial genomes from ancient human remains. We then compare this ‘real-time’ genetic data with cultural changes taking place between the Early Neolithic (~5450 BC) and Bronze Age (~2200 BC) in Central Europe. Our results reveal that the current diversity and distribution of haplogroup H were largely established by the Mid Neolithic (~4000 BC), but with substantial genetic contributions from subsequent pan-European cultures such as the Bell Beakers expanding out of Iberia in the Late Neolithic (~2800 BC). Dated haplogroup H genomes allow us to reconstruct the recent evolutionary history of haplogroup H and reveal a mutation rate 45% higher than current estimates for human mitochondria.

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