Friday, November 27, 2015

New Ancient mtDNA Reveal Hunter Gatherer Origins of "ENF" mtDNA

There's a type of ancestry that arrived Europe from West Asia with farming in 7000 BC and takes up the majority of ancestry in modern West Asians. It was coined "ENF" by Eurogenes author Davidski.

"ENF" is short for "Early Neolithic Farmer". The reason it was named this is it was believed this type of ancestry expanded out of West Asia with farming

"ENF" arrived in Europe with a package of new mtDNA haplogroups: R0(inclu. H), JT, K, W, X, and N1. Posters at blogs and forums theorized these mtDNA haplogroups must have originated with Early Neolithic West Asian farmers along with "ENF" ancestry. It was a nice and simple story for the origins of Middle Eastern and to a large extent European mtDNA.

I was against this idea. I argued there's just too much mtDNA diversity in West Asia for them to be descended from the same small population only 10,000 years ago. I argued "ENF" and "ENF mtDNA" existed in hunter gatherer populations all over West Asia for 10,000s of years.

In the last few weeks two papers(Hofmanová 2015, Jones 2015) have proven my argument correct. They document "ENF" ancestry in pre-Neolithic Georgia alongside "ENF mtDNA" in pre-Neolithic Georgia and Greece.

7605–7529 BC Thessaly, Greece: K1c
7288–6771 BC Thessaly, Greece: K1c
11000 BC West Georgia: H13c
7700 BC West Georgia: K3

H13c, K3, and K1c are very rare. As far as I know K3 and H13c have basically only been found in the Caucasus region today. And K1c has only been found in Europe, but is very rare.

In Conclusion
These new DNA results reveal the very complicated  and old Paleolithic origins of "ENF" mtDNA. It did not expand with farming. It had been running around in hunter gatherer populations of West Asia(and Europe?) for 10,000s of years. "ENF" itself is a mixture of at least two distinct ancient Eurasian populations, so "ENF" mtDNA is likely also a composite of mtDNA from earlier populations. We need 1000s of mtDNAs from West Asia ranging 45,000 to 3,000 years to understand its origins and history.