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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Farming 'spread by migrant wave'

27 April 2012

 The researchers extracted DNA from 5,000-year-old remains found in southern Sweden

A new study of DNA from ancient remains provides further evidence that farming was first spread to Europe by migrants.

It casts doubt on the alternative theory in which agriculture was adopted by Europe's existing hunter-gatherer populations, spreading via cultural exchange with neighbouring tribes.

Science journal says a team compared DNA from the skeleton of an ancient farmer with that from three hunters.

They found the "farmer" was genetically distinct from hunters.

Pontus Skoglund, from Uppsala University, Sweden, and colleagues extracted genomic DNA (genetic material contained in the nucleus of cells) from the 5,000-year-old remains unearthed in southern Sweden.

Ensuring the DNA obtained from these remains was genuinely ancient and uncontaminated by modern DNA required the team to use advanced molecular and statistical techniques.

They compared the genetic profiles of the stone age (Neolithic) farmer and contemporary hunter gatherers with those of modern populations.

Although the female farmer appears to have been born in the region, her genetic make-up was most similar to that of modern people from south-east Europe. (...)

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