First Ancient African Human Genome Sequenced; Profound Influence of Mysterious “Eurasian Backflow” into Horn of Africa Revealed by Comparison of Ancient “Mota Man” Genome with DNA of Modern Africans

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia approximately 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected the genetic make-up of populations across the entire African continent. The genome that was sequenced was recovered from the skull of a man buried face-down 4,500 years ago in a cave called Mota (image) in the highlands of Ethiopia, a cave cool and dry enough to preserve his DNA for thousands of years. Previously, ancient genome analysis has been limited to samples from northern and arctic regions. The latest study is the first time an ancient human genome has been recovered and sequenced from Africa, the source of all human genetic diversity. The findings were published online on October 8, 2015 in Science. The article is titled “Ancient Ethiopian Genome Reveals Extensive Eurasian Admixture throughout the African Continent.” The ancient genome predates a mysterious migratory event that took place roughly 3,000 years ago, and is known as the “Eurasian backflow,” when people from regions of Western Eurasia such as the Near East and Anatolia suddenly flooded back into the Horn of Africa. The ancient genome enabled researchers to run a millennia-spanning genetic comparison and determine that these Western Eurasians were closely related to the Early Neolithic farmers who had brought agriculture to Europe 4,000 years earlier. By comparing the ancient African genome to DNA from modern Africans, the team has been able to show that, not only do East African populations today have as much as 25% Eurasian ancestry from this “backflow” event, but that African populations in all corners of the continent - from the far West to the South - have at least 5% of their genome traceable to the Eurasian migration.
Login Or Register To Read Full Story