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    The Italian Peninsula through Ancient DNA

    This topic is all over the place, so I thought I would collect the relevant abstracts of papers to-be published here:


    Steppe and Iranian ancestry among Bronze Age Central and Western Mediterranean populations - Ron Pinhasi, Daniel Fernandes, David Reich

    ABSTRACT: Steppe-related ancestry is known to have reached central Europe ca. 3000 BCE, while Iran-related ancestry reached Greece by 1500 BCE. However, the time course and extent of their spread into the central/western Mediterranean remains a mystery. We analysed 48 Neolithic and Bronze Age individuals from Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands aiming to investigate when and how continental European and Aegean influences affected these insular populations. Results show that the first Balearic settlers had substantial Steppe-related ancestry which was subsequently diluted by increasing proportions of farmer-related ancestry. In Sardinia, we identified the appearance of Iran-related ancestry from the Aegean as early as the Middle Bronze Age, with no genetic influences seen from populations carrying Steppe-related ancestry despite cultural or commercial exchanges with Bell Beaker populations. In Sicily, during the Bronze Age and possibly earlier, we found evidence for admixture with groups carrying both these ancestries. These results suggest that Steppe-related migrants had a crucial role in the settlement of the Balearic Islands and their ancestry reached as far south as Sicily, and that the population movements that brought Iran-related ancestry to the Aegean also impacted the Western Mediterranean around the same time the first civilizations started to develop.


    A 12,000-year Genetic History of Rome and the Italian Peninsula - Hannah Moots

    Ancient DNA has become a powerful tool for studying the human past. This talk highlights our team’s multidisciplinary approach to analyzing new genomic evidence from Rome and the Italian Peninsula in the context of the extensive archaeological and historical record of the region. We have built a time series of 134 ancient genomes that spans the last 12,000 years, from the Upper Paleolithic to the present, allowing us to present a contextually-situated discussion of genomic changes through time. This approach allows us to study changes ranging from individual traits of interest, such as lactase persistence, to broad population-level shifts. We see evidence that as Rome grew from a small city to an empire encompassing the entirety of the Mediterranean - or Mare Nostrum, ‘our sea’, as the Romans called it - and beyond, the city of Rome became a mosaic of inhabitants from across the empire and remained so even after the fragmentation of the Western Roman Empire. I will illustrate these general trends with case studies, such as paleogenomic data from Isola Sacra, the necropolis for the port towns of Ostia and Portus, in which contextualizing archaeological and textual evidence have been instrumental in understanding the genetic structure of the Roman population in our study.


    Investigating Sardinian population history with ancient DNA - J.H. Marcus

    The sequencing of ancient DNA (aDNA) has provided new understanding into human movement and demography for many regions around the globe. For mainland Europe, ancient DNA studies have revealed a dynamic history, with major inferred population influxes due to Neolithic and Bronze Age expansions. The population of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia has been notable in these studies–typically aDNA samples of the early Neolithic on mainland Europe cluster with modern Sardinian samples. The standing model is that Sardinia had a high influx of Neolithic ancestry followed by relative isolation from the mainland and subsequent Bronze Age expansions. To gain further insight, we analyze genome-wide capture data (~1.2 millions SNPs) of 26 ancient Sardinians spanning the Neolithic, Copper Age, and Bronze Age, including individuals from Sardinia's Nuragic culture. Merging this novel data with 998 previously studied aDNA samples from across Europe and throughout the last ten millennia, we are able to place the ancient Sardinian samples into the broader context of the peopling of Europe. We confirm that ancient Sardinian samples show a strong affinity to early Neolithic samples and a near complete absence of the “Steppe” ancestry associated with Bronze Age expansions on the mainland. Interestingly, we also detect elevated affinities with pre-Neolithic peoples of Europe. Moreover, we studied genetic change through time within Sardinia. To this end, we analyzed whole-genome sequence data from approximately 1,500 modern Sardinian individuals, densely sampled across much of the island. Using our ancient samples enables us to detect significant signs of recent admixture, in particular with a strong influence from the Mediterranean region. We also find that populations from the more isolated mountainous provinces of Sardinia are less admixed and have experienced high levels of genetic drift. Overall, our analysis allows us to shed new light on the intriguing history of the peopling of Sardinia.
    Last edited by R.Rocca; 02-09-2019 at 03:06 PM.
    Paternal: R1b-U152 >> L2 >> FGC10543 >> PR5365, Pietro Rocca, b. 1559, Agira, Sicily, Italy
    Maternal: H4a1-T152C!, Maria Coto, b. ~1864, Galicia, Spain
    Mother's Paternal: J1+ FGC4745/FGC4766+ PF5019+, Gerardo Caprio, b. 1879, Caposele, Avellino, Campania, Italy
    Father's Maternal: T2b-C150T, Francisca Santa Cruz, b.1916, Garganchon, Burgos, Spain
    Paternal Great (x3) Grandfather: R1b-U106 >> L48 >> CTS2509, Filippo Ensabella, b.~1836, Agira, Sicily, Italy

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