Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Heaps of new ancient European DNA

Today three new papers were posted on bioRxiv. Combined they add something like 300 new genomes from ancient Europe.

Olalde et al. 2017 confirmed that Britain experienced a near complete population replacement when Bell Beaker folk from the continent arrived in around 2400 BC. And it looks like the British Isles, besides England(English have Anglo Saxon ancestry), hasn't received any significant foreign immigration since then. Which means modern British and Irish, including their mtDNA, are basically Central European Bell Beaker folk 4,000 years later.

Olalde et al. 2017: Neolithic to Bronze age(4600 to 1000 BC) Western Europe but focuses on the Bell Beaker culture(~2200 BC).
Mathieson et al. 2017: Mesolithic to Bronze age (10,000 BC-500 BC) SouthEastern Europe.
Martiniano et al. 2017: Neolithic, Copper Age, and Bronze age Portugal.

In the last year I have focused on European mtDNA in preparation for these papers. In this post I'll tell the mtDNA affinity of every ancient population analysed in these new studies for the first time.

Ukraine Hunter Gatherers ~10,000-7,000yo. N=38
All individuals posses mHG U5 or U4 or U2. Most of their U5a1 is U5a1b, most of their U5a2 is U5a2a, and most of their U4 is U4b1.

The high frequency of U5a1b is interesting because a high ratio of modern U5a1 is U5a1b and UkraineHGs are the only European HGs found with U5a1b. Furthermore, U5a1b has been found in many Steppe-influenced ancient Eurasians(eg; Bell Beaker, Corded Ware, Scythian, Tarim Mummies). About 5% of British Bell Beaker and Bronze age individuals have U5a1b.

UkraineHG had a very high frequency of U4; 38%. UkraineHG ancestry could explain the high frequency of U4 found in later Catacomb culture and Andronovo and modern Eastern Europeans. Combined U4b1a and U4b1b make a strong presence in Ukraine HG. These two subclades consume a large percentage of modern U4 and they can be found from Pakistan to Ireland.

Iron Gate(Serbia, Romania border) Hunter Gatherers ~9,000-8,000yo. N=37.

76% have U5 or U4. 19% have K1. 3% have U8b1b. 3% have H.

U5b1d1, U5b2a1a, U5a1c, U5a2d, U5a2a, U4b1b1, K1c swallow 50% of Iron gate HG's mtDNA.

Coincidentally today both U5b2a1a and U5a1c  peak in Spain. By peak I mean Spain has like 1% of each while other Europeans have 0.(something). U5a1c was also quite popular among East Baltic hunter gatherers but hasn't been found in hunter gatherers outside of Iron Gate and the East Baltic.

K1's persistent presence in Iron Gate renders it unique from other European hunter gatherers. K1c is its most popular K1. Recall a pair of K1* possibly K1c was found in Mesolithic Greece a few years ago.

Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine Neolithic Farmers. ~8,000-6,000yo. N=24. 

Typical Neolithic European farmers.

All belonged to one of the following mHGs; H, K1a, T2(T2e, T2b), T1a, J1c, U5a. And their frequencies of those haplogroups are similar to other Neolithic Europeans.

H1b popped up in Trypillia in a second straight study. H1b peaks in Eastern Europe today and can be found all over Eurasia.

Only 8%(2 of 24) had hunter gatherer mtDNA; U5a2* and U5a1c.

Globular_Amphora Ukraine and Poland. ~5,000yo. N=11.

Typical Neolithic European farmers.

H28=3, H1b=1, U5b=2, J1c=2, T2b=1, K1b1a1=1, W5=1.

British Neolithic. ~5500-4500yo. N=36. 

H 25%
  H1 14%
  H3 3%
  H5: 6%
K 19%
  K1a4 6%
  K1b1a1 6%
U5 16%
  U5b 8%
  U5a 5%
J1c 11%
T2 8%
X 3%
W 3%

Yep, typical Neolithic European farmers. Interestingly I see a lot of similarities to Iberia Neolithic. Also two had H1c which has been found in Funnel Beaker Sweden and is quite popular in Europe today.

British Bell Beaker, Bronze age. ~4500-3500yo. N=55.

H 13%
  H1 5%
  H3 2%
  H5 0%
  H6 2%
K 5%
U5 27%
  U5b 15%
  U5a 12%
U4 2%
J1c 5%
T2 13%
X 2%
W 2%
I 9%

Mostly Neolithic European farmer but shows significant Steppe influences.

Interestingly U5 frequencies are much higher than in modern British. All of British BBC/BA's U5a falls under distinctively Steppe subclades; U5a1a and U5a1b.

mHG I reaches strangely high frequencies in British BBC/BA like it does in Unetice. mHG I isn't a Steppe lineage but at least in Europe it first appears alongside Steppe ancestry.  


  1. I've heard there are no H6a results (via an mtDNA H Facebook group)

  2. Found "new" MtDNA H6a1a in Early Bronze Age Oostwoud-Tuithoorn West Frisia Netherlands 1883-1665 BCE in the Bell Beaker paper but that is more recent than CWC & BBC. So it no surprise that MtDNA would be there at that time. I have an exact MtDNA match in the Netherlands today.

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  4. Ok, looked at Eurogenes spreadsheet! 2 H6 finds in the Beaker paper. The above mention H6a1a is listed as BBC Netherlands. I believe this #14075 was female. The other sample was mtDNA H6a1b2 and yDNA I2a2a1a1a1 male MBA 1442-1273 BCE Scotland. (there were no H6 result in the Southeastern Europe paper) THANKS AGAIN FOR KEEPING US TO DATE!