Stephan Schiffels

Population Genetics – Computational Methods - Human History

van de Loosdrecht et al. 2018

Pleistocene North African genomes link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African human populations. Science. Published March 15, 2018.

Authors: Marieke van de Loosdrecht, Abdeljalil Bouzouggar, Louise Humphrey, Cosimo Posth, Nick Barton, Ayinuer Aximu-Petri, Birgit Nickel, Sarah Nagel, El Hassan Talbi, Mohammed Abdeljalil El Hajraoui, Saaïd Amzazi, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Svante Pääbo, Stephan Schiffels, Matthias Meyer, Wolfgang Haak, Choongwon Jeong and Johannes Krause

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Abstract: North Africa is a key region for understanding human history, but the genetic history of its people is largely unknown. We present genomic data from seven 15,000-year-old modern humans from Morocco, attributed to the Iberomaurusian culture. We find a genetic affinity with early Holocene Near Easterners, best represented by Levantine Natufians, suggesting a pre-agricultural connection between Africa and the Near East. We do not find evidence for gene flow from Paleolithic Europeans into Late Pleistocene North Africans. The Taforalt individuals derive one third of their ancestry from sub-Saharan Africans, best approximated by a mixture of genetic components preserved in present-day West and East Africans. Thus, we provide direct evidence for genetic interactions between modern humans across Africa and Eurasia in the Pleistocene.