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    Ancient Rome: A genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean

    Paper is out:
    Ancient Rome was the capital of an empire of ~70 million inhabitants, but little is known about the genetics of ancient Romans. Here we present 127 genomes from 29 archaeological sites in and around Rome, spanning the past 12,000 years. We observe two major prehistoric ancestry transitions: one with the introduction of farming and another prior to the Iron Age. By the founding of Rome, the genetic composition of the region approximated that of modern Mediterranean populations. During the Imperial period, Rome’s population received net immigration from the Near East, followed by an increase in genetic contributions from Europe. These ancestry shifts mirrored the geopolitical affiliations of Rome and were accompanied by marked interindividual diversity, reflecting gene flow from across the Mediterranean, Europe, and North Africa.
    Key quotes:
    Similar to early farmers from other parts of Europe, Neolithic individuals from central Italy project near Anatolian farmers in PCA (13, 14, 17–19) (Fig. 2A). However, ADMIXTURE reveals that, in addition to ancestry from northwestern Anatolia farmers, all of the Neolithic individuals that we studied carry a small amount of another component that is found at high levels in Neolithic Iranian farmers and Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) (Fig. 2B and fig. S9). This contrasts with contemporaneous central European and Iberian populations who carry farmer ancestry predominantly from northwestern Anatolia (fig. S12). Furthermore, qpAdm modeling suggests that Neolithic Italian farmers can be modeled as a two-way mixture of ~5% local hunter-gatherer ancestry and ~95% ancestry of Neolithic farmers from central Anatolia or northern Greece (table S7), who also carry additional CHG (or Neolithic Iranian) ancestry (fig. S12) (14). These findings point to different or additional source populations involved in the Neolithic transition in Italy compared to central and western Europe.
    The Iron Age individuals exhibit highly variable ancestries, hinting at multiple sources of migration into the region during this period (Figs. 2A and 3B). Although we were able to model eight of the 11 individuals as two-way mixtures of Copper Age central Italians and a Steppe-related population (~24 to 38%) using qpAdm, this model was rejected for the other three individuals (p < 0.001; table S16). Instead, two individuals from Latin sites (R437 and R850) can be modeled as a mixture between local people and an ancient Near Eastern population (best approximated by Bronze Age Armenian or Iron Age Anatolian; tables S17 and S18). An Etruscan individual (R475) carries significant African ancestry identified by f-statistics (|Z-score|>3; fig. S23) and can be modeled with ~53% ancestry from Late Neolithic Moroccan (table S19). Together these results suggest substantial genetic heterogeneity within the Etruscan (n = 3 individuals) and Latin (n = 6) groups. However, using f-statistics, we did not find significant genetic differentiation between the Etruscans and Latins in allele sharing with any preceding or contemporaneous population (|Z-score|<2), although the power to detect subtle genetic differentiation is limited by the small sample size.
    Last edited by traject; 11-07-2019 at 07:16 PM.
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