Genome-wide data from a 40,000-year-old man in China reveals complicated genetic history of Asia

Popular Archeology | 10/13/2017 | Staff
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CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES HEADQUARTERS—The biological makeup of humans in East Asia is shaping up to be a very complex story, with greater diversity and more distant contacts than previously known, according to a new study in Current Biologyanalyzing the genome of a man that died in the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China 40,000 years ago. His bones had enough DNA molecules left that a team led by Professor FU Qiaomei, at the Molecular Paleontology Lab at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), could use advanced ancient DNA sequencing techniques to retrieve DNA from him that spans the human genome.

Though several ancient humans have been sequenced in Europe and Siberia, few have been sequenced from East Asia, particularly China, where the archaeological record shows a rich history for early modern humans. This new study on the Tianyuan man marks the earliest ancient DNA from East Asia, and the first ancient genome-wide data from China.

Tianyuan - Man - Lab - Closer - Relationship

The Tianyuan man was studied in 2013 by the same lab. Then, they found that he showed a closer relationship to present-day Asians than present-day Europeans, suggesting present-day Asian history in the region extends as far back as 40,000 years ago. With new molecular techniques only published in the last two years, Professor FU and her team, in a joint collaboration with experts at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology and UC Berkeley, sequenced and analyzed more regions of the genome, particularly at positions also sequenced in other ancient humans.

Since 2013, DNA generated from ancient Europeans has shown that all present-day Europeans derive some of their population history from a prehistoric population that separated from other early non-African populations soon after the migration out of Africa. The mixed ancestry of present-day Europeans could bias tests of genetic similarity, including the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Archeology
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