Stephan Schiffels

Population Genetics – Computational Methods - Human History

van de Loosdrecht et al. 2020

Genomic and dietary transitions during the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic in Sicily. bioRxiv. Published March 12, 2020.

Authors: Marieke S van de Loosdrecht, Marcello A Mannino, Sahra Talamo, Vanessa Villalba-Mouco, Cosimo Posth, Franziska Aron, Guido Brandt, Marta Burri, Cäcilia Freund, Rita Radzeviciute, Raphaela Stahl, Antje Wissgott, Lysann Klausnitzer, Sarah Nagel, Matthias Meyer, Antonio Tagliacozzo, Marcello Piperno, Sebastiano Tusa, Carmine Collina, Vittoria Schimmenti, Rosaria Di Salvo, Kay Prüfer, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Stephan Schiffels, Choongwon Jeong, Wolfgang Haak and Johannes Krause

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Abstract: Abstract Southern Italy is a key region for understanding the agricultural transition in the Mediterranean due to its central position. We present a genomic transect for 19 prehistoric Sicilians that covers the Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic period. We find that the Early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (HGs) are a highly drifted sister lineage to Early Holocene western European HGs, whereas a quarter of the Late Mesolithic HGs ancestry is related to HGs from eastern Europe and the Near East. This indicates substantial gene flow from (south-)eastern Europe between the Early and Late Mesolithic. The Early Neolithic farmers are genetically most similar to those from the Balkan and Greece, and carry only a maximum of ∼7\% ancestry from Sicilian Mesolithic HGs. Ancestry changes match changes in dietary profile and material culture, except for two individuals who may provide tentative initial evidence that HGs adopted elements of farming in Sicily.One-sentence summary Genome-wide and isotopic data from prehistoric Sicilians reveal a pre-farming connection to (south-) eastern Europe, and tentative initial evidence that hunter-gatherers adopted some Neolithic aspects prior to near-total replacement by early farmers.