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Thread: New Paper in the Offing: The Genomics of [Irish] Megaliths

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    New Paper in the Offing: The Genomics of [Irish] Megaliths

    Here's a new paper that should be coming out in the next year or so. There will be a presentation on it at the SMBE (Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution) Conference in Yokohama, Japan, on July 11 (the conference is being held from July 8-12).


    O-03-LB05

    The Genomics of Megaliths: An Irish case study into the reconstruction of prehistoric societal landscapes through ancient DNA analysis

    Lara M Cassidy 1

    1 Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)

    The Irish Neolithic (circa 3,800-2,500) marks the emergence of complex civilization on the island, alongside the establishment of continued contacts with other Atlantic regions, which intensify in the succeeding Copper and Bronze Ages. In addition to these cultural upheavals, the Neolithic period has been demonstrated to both begin and end with mass migration into the island, potentially from multiple external sources. However, the variable interplay between geography and culture in the catalyzation of these population movements has remained an open question. Indeed, the archaeological record would suggest regional heterogeneity in the uptake of British and continental traditions at both transition points.

    Here, the potential social and cultural implications of such events are explored through the prism of ancient genomics. Imputed diploid genotypes for over 50 individuals sampled from the Mesolithic to Bronze Age periods, encompassing a diversity of megalithic structures, are presented and dissected through the use of haplotypic-sharing methods, as well as estimations of kinship and inbreeding. Combined with Y chromosome analysis these provide the first evidence of genetic structure on the island during specific prehistoric time intervals, which can be interpreted along both geographical and cultural lines. Furthermore, candidate refugiums that may recurrently act as reservoirs for older traditions and genetic ancestries are identified, as well as hub regions, which appear more susceptible to demographic disturbances on the continent, highlighting the immovable constraints of geography on both cultural and genomic evolution.
    Notice the part I put in bold red above. Pretty obviously they mean the mass arrival of Neolithic farmers at the start of the Neolithic and of Kurgan Bell Beaker people at the end of it. I am really interested in how that played out genomically and how much population replacement occurred, especially with the arrival of the Kurgan Bell Beaker people.

    Lara Cassidy was the lead author of the Cassidy et al paper on the Rathlin Island men. This should also be a great paper.

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    Leabhar Gabhála Éireann investigated with ancient dna analysis! Is trom an t-ualach an t-aineolas.
    Last edited by caithne; 07-06-2018 at 08:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caithne View Post
    Leabhar Gabhála Éireann investigated with ancient dna analysis! Is trom an t-ualach an t-aineolas.
    I don't speak Gaelic, but I used Google Translate on that. It came up with

    The burden of ignorance is heavy.
    Perhaps you'd care to explain what you meant (in English, please).

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    Here's a new paper that should be coming out in the next year or so. There will be a presentation on it at the SMBE (Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution) Conference in Yokohama, Japan, on July 11 (the conference is being held from July 8-12).




    Notice the part I put in bold red above. Pretty obviously they mean the mass arrival of Neolithic farmers at the start of the Neolithic and of Kurgan Bell Beaker people at the end of it. I am really interested in how that played out genomically and how much population replacement occurred, especially with the arrival of the Kurgan Bell Beaker people.

    Lara Cassidy was the lead author of the Cassidy et al paper on the Rathlin Island men. This should also be a great paper.

    These analyses, taken with the PCA and ADMIXTURE results, indicate that the Irish Bronze Age is composed of a mixture of European MN and introgressing Steppe ancestry (9, 10). To estimate the proportion of Yamnaya to MN ancestry in each Irish Bronze Age sample, we took three approaches. First, from ADMIXTURE analysis (Fig. 1), we examined the green Caucasus ancestry component. We presume an ultimate source of this as the Yamnaya where it features at a proportion of 40% of their total ancestry. In our three Irish Bronze Age samples, it is present at levels between 6–13%, which, when scaled up to include the remaining 60% of Yamnaya ancestry, imply a total of 14–33% Yamnaya ancestry and therefore 67–86% MN in the Irish Bronze Age. Second, for each Bronze Age Irish individual, we calculated the proportion of MN ancestry by using the ratio f4(Mbuti, Ballynahatty; X, Dai)/f4(Mbuti, Ballynahatty; Gok2, Dai), which gave estimates between 72 ± 4% to 74 ± 5%, implying again a substantial Yamnaya remainder. Third, we followed the methods described in Haak et al. (9), which use a collection of outgroup populations, to estimate the mixture proportions of three different sources, Linearbandkeramik (Early Neolithic; 35 ± 6%), Loschbour (WHG; 26 ± 12%), and Yamnaya (39 ± 8%), in the total Irish Bronze Age group. These three approaches give an overlapping estimate of ∼32% Yamnaya ancestry.

    I tought Yamnaya was a good chunck more than 32%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etrusco View Post
    . . .

    I tought Yamnaya was a good chunck more than 32%.
    That earlier paper is somewhat dated now. We have acquired a good many more results since then, and evidently Yamnaya ancestry has been further refined. Recently, Davidski remarked that with what we know now, Bell Beaker could have been as much as 80-90% steppe.

    The fact that Yamnaya itself has lately been shown to contain a Globular Amphora-like ENF element will probably change things.

    Notice the proximity of Rathlin 1 and 2 to Yamnaya_Kalmykia in the table from Eurogenes below:

    Rathlin 1 and 2 _compared with Yamnaya Kalmykia RISE548.jpg

    This qpGraph shows British Kurgan Bell Beaker derived from Yamnaya.

    qpGraph_Eurogenes 31 May 2018 Beaker Britain derived from Yamnaya.jpg
    Last edited by rms2; 07-07-2018 at 02:45 PM.

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    In the past when the Book of Invasions was taken as a literal history of Ireland it was the first chapter of Irish history text books. Then the narrative changed the ancient writings were mostly myths and a result of the early Irish monks wish to create an Irish identity within the wider early Christian Church. Historians, linguists and archaeologist were aware that we are not an island in isolation from Britain and the rest of Europe there were many migrations of people and culture. I believe that most Irish people accepted that many peoples were part of our ancient past. We now have the opportunity to know through ancient DNA analysis our ancient history. We will have more clarity and our lack of knowledge can no longer be a cause for uncertainty. Our recent past has been a story of lost people and a near total loss of our history, language and culture. I look forward to all the new knowledge we will gain and the new and more complete story we can create.

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    This should be the mega-paper of Irish prehistory, that's for sure, with over 50 samples from the Mesolithic to the Early Bronze Age.

    It's something to really look forward to. I just hope they publish it pretty soon and we don't have to wait too long.

    This summer would be nice, since I'm a teacher and don't work in the summer. That would give me plenty of time to read and digest it.

    But do these researchers ever publish a paper in the summertime? Not that I recall. They always seem to put them out when I am really busy with work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    This should be the mega-paper of Irish prehistory, that's for sure, with over 50 samples from the Mesolithic to the Early Bronze Age.

    It's something to really look forward to. I just hope they publish it pretty soon and we don't have to wait too long.

    This summer would be nice, since I'm a teacher and don't work in the summer ...
    ... But do these researchers ever publish a paper in the summertime? Not that I recall. They always seem to put them out when I am really busy with work.
    Er, mate, no offense, but that's because all academic types are on their jollies for months in the summer, a bit like you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glentane View Post
    Er, mate, no offense, but that's because all academic types are on their jollies for months in the summer, a bit like you.
    True. I did actually think of that.

    Soon I will be retired and off for good. Hope my mind holds up so that I can still understand these papers when I can devote more time to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    True. I did actually think of that.
    Archaeologists are the worst offenders.
    Out of the office, frequently out of the country, and very often in remote wilderness areas without cellphone cover, electricity, or washing water.
    Down a hole. Possibly with an owl.

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