Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iberia was the European demographic reservoir during the last Ice Age

13.01.2005


By studying mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child, researchers have found that most of the actual European inhabitants seem to have come from re-expansion of hunter-gatherers populations, which have migrated from Iberia, Europe after the end of the last Ice Age reports an article in the January issue of Genome Research.

In the study of human evolution through history and pre-history there are now two indispensable sets of genes to follow: Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes. Both sets are transmitted uniparentally from one generation to the next - father to son in the case of the Y-chromosome and mother to child in the case of mtDNA - which makes them especially useful to trace lineages.

Mitochondrial DNA is a circular structure composed of 13 genes and exists, as the name indicates, in mitochondria, which are organelles responsible for energy production in the cell. Mitochondrial DNA sequences can be divided in different groups – haplogroups – according to genetic variations (or polymorphisms). Each haplogroup can then be divided into sub-clades (or sub-groups) according to further polymorphisms. Because it is possible to calculate the changes occurring in mtDNA in a certain period of time (the rate of change is constant and known) it is possible to follow in time the different sub-clades and learn when they did get separated, and consequently their individual migrations/geographical separations.



And in fact, the study of mtDNA haplogroups has been used to understand better the migrations of human population throughout evolution. Unfortunately, this has not been possible in Europe, although some progress has been made on a relatively rare haplogroup V. But around half of the European mtDNA sequences belong to a haplogroup (H) and so far it had been impossible to understand its evolutionary pathway in the continent.

But now Luísa Pereira, Martin Richards, Ana Goios, Vincent Macaulay, António Amorim and colleagues from Spain, Israel, Russia, Germany, Dubai, Czech Republic and Ireland, taking advantage of recently available information on haplogroup H polymorphisms, decided to make a new attempt to understand the European migrations throughout evolution. The team of scientists analysed 649 individuals of the H haplogroup from 20 populations throughout Europe, Caucasus and the near East and, by managing to trace the localisation of the different sub-clades, were able to further resolve the evolutionary (and migrational) history of haplogroup H and modern Europeans.

In fact, it is believed that haplogroup H evolved in the Near East around 28.000-30.000 years ago and spread throughout Europe 20.000 years ago. Although it was thought that some, or all, of the European population of this haplogroup have re-expanded throughout the continent from a European glacial refuge 15.000 years ago, this was not possible to be confirmed. Now Pereira, Richards, Goios, Macaulay, Amorim and colleagues’ work not only confirms that in fact the oldest lineage of H (called H*) was found in the near East and entered Europe during the peak of the last Ice Age, but also claims to have identified the glacial refuge in Europe from where humans re-expanded as Iberia.

Pereira, Richards, Goios, Macaulay, Amorim and colleagues’ work is important for the history of human evolution suggesting that most modern Europeans evolved from hunter-gathers that expanded at the end of the last Ice Age (end of the Palaeolithic) from a glacial refuge in Iberia where they have stayed for around 10,000 years after an initial migration from the Near East.

Piece researched and written by: Catarina Amorim ( catarina.amorim@linacre.ox.ac.uk)

Catarina Amorim | alfa
Further information:
http://www.genome.org/cgi/content/abstract/15/1/19?ct

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>