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Bibliography on: Paleontology Meets Genomics — Sequencing Ancient DNA

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 21 Sep 2021 at 01:49 Created: 

Paleontology Meets Genomics — Sequencing Ancient DNA

The ideas behind Jurassic Park have become real, kinda sorta. It is now possible to retrieve and sequence DNA from ancient specimens. Although these sequences are based on poor quality DNA and thus have many inferential steps (i,e, the resulting sequence is not likely to be a perfect replica of the living DNA), the insights to be gained from paleosequentcing are nonetheless great. For example, paleo-sequencing has shown that Neanderthal DNA is sufficiently different from human DNA as to be reasonably considered as coming from a different species.

Created with PubMed® Query: "ancient DNA" OR "ancient genome" OR paleogenetic OR paleogenetics NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-09-17

Tamburrini C, de Saint Pierre M, Bravi CM, et al (2021)

Uniparental origins of the admixed Argentine Patagonia.

American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to contribute to the understanding of the ancient geographic origins of the uniparentally inherited markers in modern admixed Argentinian populations from central Patagonia with new information provided for the city of Trelew. We attempted to highlight the importance of combining different genetic markers when studying population history.

METHODS: The mtDNA control region sequence was typified in 89 individuals and 12 Y-STR and 15 Y-SNP loci were analyzed in 66 males. With these data, analysis of molecular variance and Network analyses were carried out. We exhaustively compared the modern data with ancient mtDNA information. Finally, we tested the differences in continental origins estimated by uniparental and previously published biparental markers.

RESULTS: Native American mtDNAs (53.9%) increased when maternal ancestors were born in the northern (81.8%) and southern (58.5%) regions of Argentina or in Chile (77.8%). Population substructure was only observed for Y-chromosome haplotypes. Some mtDNA haplogroups have been present in the area for at least ca. 2762-2430 and ca. 500 (D1g and D1g4 haplogroups) and ca. 6736 and ca. 6620 (C1b and C1c haplogroups) years, respectively. In contrast, haplogroups B2i2 and C1b13, frequent in modern Patagonia populations, had not been found in previous ancient DNA studies of the region.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that Native American ancestry is well preserved in the region. Trelew samples had characteristic native mtDNA haplogroups previously described in Chilean and Argentine Patagonian populations, but not observed in ancient samples until now. These findings support the idea that these lineages have a recent regional origin. Finally, the estimated proportions of continental ancestry depend on the genetic marker analyzed.

RevDate: 2021-09-17

de-Dios T, Carrión P, Olalde I, et al (2021)

Salmonella enterica from a soldier from the 1652 siege of Barcelona (Spain) supports historical transatlantic epidemic contacts.

iScience, 24(9):103021.

Ancient pathogen genomics is an emerging field allowing reconstruction of past epidemics. The demise of post-contact American populations may, at least in part, have been caused by paratyphoid fever brought by Europeans. We retrieved genome-wide data from two Spanish soldiers who were besieging the city of Barcelona in 1652, during the Reapers' War. Their ancestry derived from the Basque region and Sardinia, respectively, (at that time, this island belonged to the Spanish kingdom). Despite the proposed plague epidemic, we could not find solid evidence for the presence of the causative plague agent in these individuals. However, we retrieved from one individual a substantial fraction of the Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi C lineage linked to paratyphoid fever in colonial period Mexico. Our results support a growing body of evidence that Paratyphi C enteric fever was more prevalent in Europe and the Americas in the past than it is today.

RevDate: 2021-09-15

Ringbauer H, Novembre J, M Steinrücken (2021)

Parental relatedness through time revealed by runs of homozygosity in ancient DNA.

Nature communications, 12(1):5425.

Parental relatedness of present-day humans varies substantially across the globe, but little is known about the past. Here we analyze ancient DNA, leveraging that parental relatedness leaves genomic traces in the form of runs of homozygosity. We present an approach to identify such runs in low-coverage ancient DNA data aided by haplotype information from a modern phased reference panel. Simulation and experiments show that this method robustly detects runs of homozygosity longer than 4 centimorgan for ancient individuals with at least 0.3 × coverage. Analyzing genomic data from 1,785 ancient humans who lived in the last 45,000 years, we detect low rates of first cousin or closer unions across most ancient populations. Moreover, we find a marked decay in background parental relatedness co-occurring with or shortly after the advent of sedentary agriculture. We observe this signal, likely linked to increasing local population sizes, across several geographic transects worldwide.

RevDate: 2021-09-14

Silva M, Oteo-García G, Martiniano R, et al (2021)

Biomolecular insights into North African-related ancestry, mobility and diet in eleventh-century Al-Andalus.

Scientific reports, 11(1):18121.

Historical records document medieval immigration from North Africa to Iberia to create Islamic al-Andalus. Here, we present a low-coverage genome of an eleventh century CE man buried in an Islamic necropolis in Segorbe, near Valencia, Spain. Uniparental lineages indicate North African ancestry, but at the autosomal level he displays a mosaic of North African and European-like ancestries, distinct from any present-day population. Altogether, the genome-wide evidence, stable isotope results and the age of the burial indicate that his ancestry was ultimately a result of admixture between recently arrived Amazigh people (Berbers) and the population inhabiting the Peninsula prior to the Islamic conquest. We detect differences between our sample and a previously published group of contemporary individuals from Valencia, exemplifying how detailed, small-scale aDNA studies can illuminate fine-grained regional and temporal differences. His genome demonstrates how ancient DNA studies can capture portraits of past genetic variation that have been erased by later demographic shifts-in this case, most likely the seventeenth century CE expulsion of formerly Islamic communities as tolerance dissipated following the Reconquista by the Catholic kingdoms of the north.

RevDate: 2021-09-13
CmpDate: 2021-09-13

Wang W, GZ Han (2021)

Ancient Adaptative Evolution of ACE2 in East Asians.

Genome biology and evolution, 13(8):.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been posing an unprecedented challenge to global public health. SARS-CoV-2 and several other coronaviruses utilize angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as their entry receptors. The ACE2 gene has been found to experience episodic positive selection across mammals. However, much remains unknown about how the ACE2 gene evolved in human populations. Here, we use population genetics approaches to investigate the evolution of the ACE2 gene in 26 human populations sampled globally. We find the ACE2 gene exhibits an extremely low nucleotide diversity in the East Asian populations. Strong signals of selective sweep are detected in the East Asian populations, but not in the other human populations. The selective sweep in ACE2 is estimated to begin in East Asian populations ∼23,600 years ago. Our study provides novel insights into the evolution of the ACE2 gene within human populations.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Sedig JW, Olade I, Patterson N, et al (2021)


Journal of archaeological science, 133:.

This paper examines how ancient DNA data can enhance radiocarbon dating. Because there is a limit to the number of years that can separate the dates of death of related individuals, the ability to identify relatives through ancient DNA analysis can serve as a constraint on radiocarbon date range estimates. To determine the number of years that can separate related individuals, we modeled maximums derived from biological extremes of human reproduction and death ages and compiled data from historic and genealogical death records. We used these data to jointly study the date ranges of a global dataset of individuals that have been radiocarbon dated and for which ancient DNA analysis identified at least one relative. We found that many of these individuals could have their date uncertainties reduced by building in date of death separation constraints. We examined possible reasons for date discrepancies of related individuals, such as dating of different skeletal elements or wiggles in the radiocarbon curve. We also developed a program, refinedate, which researchers can download and use to help refine the radiocarbon date distributions of related individuals. Our research demonstrates that when combined, radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA analysis can provide a refined and richer view of the past.

RevDate: 2021-09-06

Kehlmaier C, López-Jurado LF, Hernández-Acosta N, et al (2021)

"Ancient DNA" reveals that the scientific name for an extinct tortoise from Cape Verde refers to an extant South American species.

Scientific reports, 11(1):17537.

We examined the type material of the extinct tortoise species Geochelone atlantica López-Jurado, Mateo and García-Márquez, 1998 from Sal Island, Cape Verde, using aDNA approaches and AMS radiocarbon dating. High-quality mitochondrial genomes obtained from the three type specimens support that all type material belongs to the same individual. In phylogenetic analyses using mitochondrial genomes of all species groups and genera of extant and some recently extinct tortoises, the type material clusters within the extant South American red-footed tortoise Chelonoidis carbonarius (Spix, 1824). Our radiocarbon date indicates that the tortoise from which the type series of G. atlantica originates was still alive during 1962 and 1974. These results provide firm evidence that the type material of G. atlantica does not belong to the Quaternary tortoise bones excavated on Sal Island in the 1930s, as originally thought. Thus, the extinct tortoise species remains unstudied and lacks a scientific name, and the name G. atlantica has to be relegated into the synonymy of C. carbonarius. The circumstances that led to this confusion currently cannot be disentangled.

RevDate: 2021-09-01

Bramanti B, Wu Y, Yang R, et al (2021)

Assessing the origins of the European Plagues following the Black Death: A synthesis of genomic, historical, and ecological information.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(36):.

The second plague pandemic started in Europe with the Black Death in 1346 and lasted until the 19th century. Based on ancient DNA studies, there is a scientific disagreement over whether the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, came into Europe once (Hypothesis 1) or repeatedly over the following four centuries (Hypothesis 2). Here, we synthesize the most updated phylogeny together with historical, archeological, evolutionary, and ecological information. On the basis of this holistic view, we conclude that Hypothesis 2 is the most plausible. We also suggest that Y. pestis lineages might have developed attenuated virulence during transmission, which can explain the convergent evolutionary signals, including pla decay, that appeared at the end of the pandemics.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Caramelli D, Posth C, O Rickards (2021)

Reconstruction of the human peopling of Europe: a genetic insight.

Annals of human biology, 48(3):175-178.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Feldman M, Gnecchi-Ruscone GA, Lamnidis TC, et al (2021)

Where Asia meets Europe - recent insights from ancient human genomics.

Annals of human biology, 48(3):191-202.

CONTEXT: The peopling of Europe by modern humans is a widely debated topic in the field of modern and ancient genomics. While several recent syntheses have focussed on this topic, little has been discussed about the genetic history of populations in the continent's surrounding regions.

OBJECTIVE: We explore genetic transformations in three key areas that played an essential role in the formation of the European genetic landscape through time, focussing on the periods spanning from the Epipalaeolithic/Mesolithic and up until the Iron Age.

METHODS: We review published ancient genomic studies and integrate the associated data to provide a quantification and visualisation of major trends in the population histories of the Near East, the western Eurasian Steppe and North East Europe.

RESULTS: We describe cross-regional as well as localised prehistoric demographic shifts and discuss potential research directions while highlighting geo-temporal gaps in the data.

CONCLUSION: In recent years, archaeogenetic studies have contributed to the understanding of human genetic diversity through time in regions located at the doorstep of Europe. Further studies focussing on these areas will allow for a better characterisation of genetic shifts and regionally-specific patterns of admixture across western Eurasia.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Modi A, Vai S, Posth C, et al (2021)

More data on ancient human mitogenome variability in Italy: new mitochondrial genome sequences from three Upper Palaeolithic burials.

Annals of human biology, 48(3):213-222.

BACKGROUND: Recently, the study of mitochondrial variability in ancient humans has allowed the definition of population dynamics that characterised Europe in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Despite the abundance of sites and skeletal remains few data are available for Italy.

AIM: We reconstructed the mitochondrial genomes of three Upper Palaeolithic individuals for some of the most important Italian archaeological contexts: Paglicci (South-Eastern Italy), San Teodoro (South-Western Italy) and Arene Candide (North-Western Italy) caves.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We explored the phylogenetic relationships of the three mitogenomes in the context of Western Eurasian ancient and modern variability.

RESULTS: Paglicci 12 belongs to sub-haplogroup U8c, described in only two other Gravettian individuals; San Teodoro 2 harbours a U2'3'4'7'8'9 sequence, the only lineage found in Sicily during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene; Arene Candide 16 displays an ancestral U5b1 haplotype already detected in other Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Central Europe.

CONCLUSION: Regional genetic continuity is highlighted in the Gravettian groups that succeeded in Paglicci. Data from one of the oldest human remains from Sicily reinforce the hypothesis that Epigravettian groups carrying U2'3'4'7'8'9 could be the first inhabitants of the island. The first pre-Neolithic mitogenome from North-Western Italy, sequenced here, shows more affinity with continental Europe than with the Italian peninsula.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Serrano JG, Ordóñez AC, R Fregel (2021)

Paleogenomics of the prehistory of Europe: human migrations, domestication and disease.

Annals of human biology, 48(3):179-190.

A substantial portion of ancient DNA research has been centred on understanding European populations' origin and evolution. A rchaeological evidence has already shown that the peopling of Europe involved an intricate pattern of demic and/or cultural diffusion since the Upper Palaeolithic, which became more evident during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. However, ancient DNA data has been crucial in determining if cultural changes occurred due to the movement of ideas or people. With the advent of next-generation sequencing and population-based paleogenomic research, ancient DNA studies have been directed not only at the study of continental human migrations, but also to the detailed analysis of particular archaeological sites, the processes of domestication, or the spread of disease during prehistoric times. With this vast paleogenomic effort added to a proper archaeological contextualisation of results, a deeper understanding of Europe's peopling is starting to emanate.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Sarno S, Cilli E, Serventi P, et al (2021)

Insights into Punic genetic signatures in the southern necropolis of Tharros (Sardinia).

Annals of human biology, 48(3):247-259.

BACKGROUND: Phoenician and Punic expansions have been protagonists of intense trade networks and settlements in the Mediterranean Sea.

AIMS: The maternal genetic variability of ancient Punic samples from the Sardinian necropolis of Tharros was analysed, with the aim to explore genetic interactions and signatures of past population events.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The mtDNA HVS-I and coding region SNPs were analysed in 14 Punic samples and 74 modern individuals from Cabras and Belvì (for which the HVS-II region was also analysed). The results were compared with 5,590 modern Euro-Mediterranean sequences and 127 ancient samples.

RESULTS: While contemporary groups fall within the genetic variability of other modern Sardinians, our Punic samples reveal proximity to present-day North-African and Iberian populations. Furthermore, Cabras and Belvì cluster mainly with pre-Phoenician groups, while samples from Tharros project with other Punic Sardinian individuals.

CONCLUSION: This study provides the first preliminary insights into the population dynamics of the Punic site of Tharros. While the number of currently available samples does not allow definitive investigation of the connection with indigenous Sardinian groups, our results seem to confirm internal migratory phenomena in the central-western Mediterranean and female participation in the Punic mobility.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

De Angelis F, Veltre V, Romboni M, et al (2021)

Ancient genomes from a rural site in Imperial Rome (1st-3rd cent. CE): a genetic junction in the Roman Empire.

Annals of human biology, 48(3):234-246.

BACKGROUND: Rome became the prosperous Capital of the Roman Empire through the political and military conquests of neighbouring areas. People were able to move Romeward modifying the Rome area's demographic structure. However, the genomic evidence for the population of one of the broadest Empires in antiquity has been sparse until recently.

AIM: The genomic analysis of people buried in Quarto Cappello del Prete (QCP) necropolis was carried out to help elucidate the genomic structure of Imperial Rome inhabitants.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We recruited twenty-five individuals from QCP for ancient DNA analysis through whole-genome sequencing. Multiple investigations were carried out to unveil the genetic components featuring in the studied samples and the community's putative demographic structure.

RESULTS: We generated reliable whole-genome data for 7 samples surviving quality controls. The distribution of Imperial Romans from QCP partly overlaps with present-day Southern Mediterranean and Southern-Near Eastern populations.

CONCLUSION: The genomic legacy with the south-eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Central and Western Northern-African coast funerary influence pave the way for considering people buried in QCP as resembling a Punic-derived human group.

RevDate: 2021-08-31

Forin N, Vizzini A, Nigris S, et al (2020)

Illuminating type collections of nectriaceous fungi in Saccardo's fungarium.

Persoonia, 45:221-249.

Specimens of Nectria spp. and Nectriella rufofusca were obtained from the fungarium of Pier Andrea Saccardo, and investigated via a morphological and molecular approach based on MiSeq technology. ITS1 and ITS2 sequences were successfully obtained from 24 specimens identified as 'Nectria' sensu Saccardo (including 20 types) and from the type specimen of Nectriella rufofusca. For Nectria ambigua, N. radians and N. tjibodensis only the ITS1 sequence was recovered. On the basis of morphological and molecular analyses new nomenclatural combinations for Nectria albofimbriata, N. ambigua, N. ambigua var. pallens, N. granuligera, N. peziza subsp. reyesiana, N. radians, N. squamuligera, N. tjibodensis and new synonymies for N. congesta, N. flageoletiana, N. phyllostachydis, N. sordescens and N. tjibodensis var. crebrior are proposed. Furthermore, the current classification is confirmed for Nectria coronata, N. cyanostoma, N. dolichospora, N. illudens, N. leucotricha, N. mantuana, N. raripila and Nectriella rufofusca. This is the first time that these more than 100-yr-old specimens are subjected to molecular analysis, thereby providing important new DNA sequence data authentic for these names.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Raxworthy CJ, BT Smith (2021)

Mining museums for historical DNA: advances and challenges in museomics.

Trends in ecology & evolution pii:S0169-5347(21)00214-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Historical DNA (hDNA), obtained from museum and herbarium specimens, has yielded spectacular new insights into the history of organisms. This includes documenting historical genetic erosion and extinction, discovering species new to science, resolving evolutionary relationships, investigating epigenetic effects, and determining origins of infectious diseases. However, the development of best-practices in isolating, processing, and analyzing hDNA remain under-explored, due to the substantial diversity of specimen preparation types, tissue sources, archival ages, and collecting histories. Thus, for hDNA to reach its full potential, and justify the destructive sampling of the rarest specimens, more experimental work using time-series collections, and the development of improved methods to correct for data asymmetries and biases due to DNA degradation are required.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Buck LT, Katz DC, Ackermann RR, et al (2021)

Effects of hybridization on pelvic morphology: A macaque model.

Journal of human evolution, 159:103049 pii:S0047-2484(21)00101-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Ancient DNA analyses have shown that interbreeding between hominin taxa occurred multiple times. Although admixture is often reflected in skeletal phenotype, the relationship between the two remains poorly understood, hampering interpretation of the hominin fossil record. Direct study of this relationship is often impossible due to the paucity of hominin fossils and difficulties retrieving ancient genetic material. Here, we use a sample of known ancestry hybrids between two closely related nonhuman primate taxa (Indian and Chinese Macaca mulatta) to investigate the effect of admixture on skeletal morphology. We focus on pelvic shape, which has potential fitness implications in hybrids, as mismatches between maternal pelvic and fetal cranial morphology are often fatal to mother and offspring. As the pelvis is also one of the skeletal regions that differs most between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, investigating the pelvic consequences of interbreeding could be informative regarding the viability of their hybrids. We find that the effect of admixture in M. mulatta is small and proportional to the relatively small morphological difference between the parent taxa. Sexual dimorphism appears to be the main determinant of pelvic shape in M. mulatta. The lack of difference in pelvic shape between Chinese and Indian M. mulatta is in contrast to that between Neanderthals and H. sapiens, despite a similar split time (in generations) between the hybridizing pairs. Greater phenotypic divergence between hominins may relate to adaptations to disparate environments but may also highlight how the unique degree of cultural buffering in hominins allowed for greater neutral divergence. In contrast to some previous work identifying extreme morphologies in first- and second-generation hybrids, here the relationship between pelvic shape and admixture is linear. This linearity may be because most sampled animals have a multigenerational admixture history or because of relatively high constraints on the pelvis compared with other skeletal regions.

RevDate: 2021-09-01

Thomas ZA, Mooney S, Cadd H, et al (2021)

Late Holocene climate anomaly concurrent with fire activity and ecosystem shifts in the eastern Australian Highlands.

The Science of the total environment, 802:149542 pii:S0048-9697(21)04616-7 [Epub ahead of print].

The alpine area of the Australian mainland is highly sensitive to climate and environmental change, and potentially vulnerable to ecosystem tipping points. Over the next two decades the Australian alpine region is predicted to experience temperature increases of at least 1 °C, coupled with a substantial decrease in snow cover. Extending the short instrumental record in these regions is imperative to put future change into context, and potentially provide analogues of warming. We reconstructed past temperatures, using a lipid biomarker palaeothermometer technique and mercury flux changes for the past 3500 years from the sediments of Club Lake, a high-altitude alpine tarn in the Snowy Mountains, southeastern Australia. Using a multi-proxy framework, including pollen and charcoal analyses, high-resolution geochemistry, and ancient microbial community composition, supported by high-resolution 210Pb and AMS 14C dating, we investigated local and regional ecological and environmental changes occurring in response to changes in temperature. We find the region experienced a general warming trend over the last 3500 years, with a pronounced climate anomaly occurring between 1000 and 1600 cal yrs. BP. Shifts in vegetation took place during this warm period, characterised by a decline in alpine species and an increase in open woodland taxa which co-occurred with an increase in regional fire activity. Given the narrow altitudinal band of Australian alpine vegetation, any future warming has the potential to result in the extinction of alpine species, including several endemic to the area, as treelines are driven to higher elevations. These findings suggest ongoing conservation efforts will be needed to protect the vulnerable alpine environments from the combined threats of climate changes, fire and invasive species.

RevDate: 2021-08-31

Nwosu EC, Roeser P, Yang S, et al (2021)

From Water into Sediment-Tracing Freshwater Cyanobacteria via DNA Analyses.

Microorganisms, 9(8):.

Sedimentary ancient DNA-based studies have been used to probe centuries of climate and environmental changes and how they affected cyanobacterial assemblages in temperate lakes. Due to cyanobacteria containing potential bloom-forming and toxin-producing taxa, their approximate reconstruction from sediments is crucial, especially in lakes lacking long-term monitoring data. To extend the resolution of sediment record interpretation, we used high-throughput sequencing, amplicon sequence variant (ASV) analysis, and quantitative PCR to compare pelagic cyanobacterial composition to that in sediment traps (collected monthly) and surface sediments in Lake Tiefer See. Cyanobacterial composition, species richness, and evenness was not significantly different among the pelagic depths, sediment traps and surface sediments (p > 0.05), indicating that the cyanobacteria in the sediments reflected the cyanobacterial assemblage in the water column. However, total cyanobacterial abundances (qPCR) decreased from the metalimnion down the water column. The aggregate-forming (Aphanizomenon) and colony-forming taxa (Snowella) showed pronounced sedimentation. In contrast, Planktothrix was only very poorly represented in sediment traps (meta- and hypolimnion) and surface sediments, despite its highest relative abundance at the thermocline (10 m water depth) during periods of lake stratification (May-October). We conclude that this skewed representation in taxonomic abundances reflects taphonomic processes, which should be considered in future DNA-based paleolimnological investigations.

RevDate: 2021-08-26

Brealey JC, Leitão HG, Hofstede T, et al (2021)

The oral microbiota of wild bears in Sweden reflects the history of antibiotic use by humans.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(21)01112-X [Epub ahead of print].

Following the advent of industrial-scale antibiotic production in the 1940s,1 antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been on the rise and now poses a major global health threat in terms of mortality, morbidity, and economic burden.2,3 Because AMR can be exchanged between humans, livestock, and wildlife, wild animals can be used as indicators of human-associated AMR contamination of the environment.4 However, AMR is a normal function of natural environments and is present in host-associated microbiomes, which makes it challenging to distinguish between anthropogenic and natural sources.4,5 One way to overcome this difficulty is to use historical samples that span the period from before the mass production of antibiotics to today. We used shotgun metagenomic sequencing of dental calculus, the calcified form of the oral microbial biofilm, to determine the abundance and repertoire of AMR genes in the oral microbiome of Swedish brown bears collected over the last 180 years. Our temporal metagenomics approach allowed us to establish a baseline of natural AMR in the pre-antibiotics era and to quantify a significant increase in total AMR load and diversity of AMR genes that is consistent with patterns of national human antibiotic use. We also demonstrated a significant decrease in total AMR load in bears in the last two decades, which coincides with Swedish strategies to mitigate AMR. Our study suggests that public health policies can be effective in limiting human-associated AMR contamination of the environment and wildlife.

RevDate: 2021-08-25

Liu S, Westbury MV, Dussex N, et al (2021)

Ancient and modern genomes unravel the evolutionary history of the rhinoceros family.

Cell pii:S0092-8674(21)00891-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Only five species of the once-diverse Rhinocerotidae remain, making the reconstruction of their evolutionary history a challenge to biologists since Darwin. We sequenced genomes from five rhinoceros species (three extinct and two living), which we compared to existing data from the remaining three living species and a range of outgroups. We identify an early divergence between extant African and Eurasian lineages, resolving a key debate regarding the phylogeny of extant rhinoceroses. This early Miocene (∼16 million years ago [mya]) split post-dates the land bridge formation between the Afro-Arabian and Eurasian landmasses. Our analyses also show that while rhinoceros genomes in general exhibit low levels of genome-wide diversity, heterozygosity is lowest and inbreeding is highest in the modern species. These results suggest that while low genetic diversity is a long-term feature of the family, it has been particularly exacerbated recently, likely reflecting recent anthropogenic-driven population declines.

RevDate: 2021-09-07
CmpDate: 2021-09-07

Beyer RM, Krapp M, Eriksson A, et al (2021)

Climatic windows for human migration out of Africa in the past 300,000 years.

Nature communications, 12(1):4889.

Whilst an African origin of modern humans is well established, the timings and routes of their expansions into Eurasia are the subject of heated debate, due to the scarcity of fossils and the lack of suitably old ancient DNA. Here, we use high-resolution palaeoclimate reconstructions to estimate how difficult it would have been for humans in terms of rainfall availability to leave the African continent in the past 300k years. We then combine these results with an anthropologically and ecologically motivated estimate of the minimum level of rainfall required by hunter-gatherers to survive, allowing us to reconstruct when, and along which geographic paths, expansions out of Africa would have been climatically feasible. The estimated timings and routes of potential contact with Eurasia are compatible with archaeological and genetic evidence of human expansions out of Africa, highlighting the key role of palaeoclimate variability for modern human dispersals.

RevDate: 2021-08-25

Dussex N, Bergfeldt N, de Anca Prado V, et al (2021)

Integrating multi-taxon palaeogenomes and sedimentary ancient DNA to study past ecosystem dynamics.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1957):20211252.

Ancient DNA (aDNA) has played a major role in our understanding of the past. Important advances in the sequencing and analysis of aDNA from a range of organisms have enabled a detailed understanding of processes such as past demography, introgression, domestication, adaptation and speciation. However, to date and with the notable exception of microbiomes and sediments, most aDNA studies have focused on single taxa or taxonomic groups, making the study of changes at the community level challenging. This is rather surprising because current sequencing and analytical approaches allow us to obtain and analyse aDNA from multiple source materials. When combined, these data can enable the simultaneous study of multiple taxa through space and time, and could thus provide a more comprehensive understanding of ecosystem-wide changes. It is therefore timely to develop an integrative approach to aDNA studies by combining data from multiple taxa and substrates. In this review, we discuss the various applications, associated challenges and future prospects of such an approach.

RevDate: 2021-08-24

Linderholm A (2021)

Palaeogenetics: Dirt, what is it good for? Everything.

Current biology : CB, 31(16):R993-R995.

Researchers in the ancient DNA community have suspected for well over a decade that ancient whole genomes can be found in sediments. Three new studies now provide such evidence and, with it, endless possibilities for future studies of sedimentary ancient DNA.

RevDate: 2021-08-26

Zacho CM, Bager MA, Margaryan A, et al (2021)

Uncovering the genomic and metagenomic research potential in old ethanol-preserved snakes.

PloS one, 16(8):e0256353.

Natural history museum collections worldwide represent a tremendous resource of information on past and present biodiversity. Fish, reptiles, amphibians and many invertebrate collections have often been preserved in ethanol for decades or centuries and our knowledge on the genomic and metagenomic research potential of such material is limited. Here, we use ancient DNA protocols, combined with shotgun sequencing to test the molecular preservation in liver, skin and bone tissue from five old (1842 to 1964) museum specimens of the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). When mapping reads to a T. sirtalis reference genome, we find that the DNA molecules are highly damaged with short average sequence lengths (38-64 bp) and high C-T deamination, ranging from 9% to 21% at the first position. Despite this, the samples displayed relatively high endogenous DNA content, ranging from 26% to 56%, revealing that genome-scale analyses are indeed possible from all specimens and tissues included here. Of the three tested types of tissue, bone shows marginally but significantly higher DNA quality in these metrics. Though at least one of the snakes had been exposed to formalin, neither the concentration nor the quality of the obtained DNA was affected. Lastly, we demonstrate that these specimens display a diverse and tissue-specific microbial genetic profile, thus offering authentic metagenomic data despite being submerged in ethanol for many years. Our results emphasize that historical museum collections continue to offer an invaluable source of information in the era of genomics.

RevDate: 2021-08-23

Kumar L, Farias K, Prakash S, et al (2021)

Dissecting the genetic history of the Roman Catholic populations of West Coast India.

Human genetics [Epub ahead of print].

Migration and admixture history of populations have always been curious and an interesting theme. The West Coast of India harbours a rich diversity, bestowing various ethno-linguistic groups, with many of them having well-documented history of migrations. The Roman Catholic is one such distinct group, whose origin was much debated. While some historians and anthropologists relating them to ancient group of Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, others relating them for being members of the Jews Lost Tribes in the first Century migration to India. Historical records suggests that this community was later forcibly converted to Christianity by the Portuguese in Goa during the Sixteenth Century. Till date, no genetic study was done on this group to infer their origin and genetic affinity. Hence, we analysed 110 Roman Catholics from three different locations of West Coast of India including Goa, Kumta and Mangalore using both uniparental and autosomal markers to understand their genetic history. We found that the Roman Catholics have close affinity with the Indo-European linguistic groups, particularly Brahmins. Additionally, we detected genetic signal of Jews in the linkage disequilibrium-based admixture analysis, which was absent in other Indo-European populations, who are inhabited in the same geographical regions. Haplotype-based analysis suggests that the Roman Catholics consist of South Asian-specific ancestry and showed high drift. Ancestry-specific historical population size estimation points to a possible bottleneck around the time of Goan inquisition (fifteenth century). Analysis of the Roman Catholics data along with ancient DNA data of Neolithic and bronze age revealed that the Roman Catholics fits well in a basic model of ancient ancestral composition, typical of most of the Indo-European caste groups of India. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis suggests that most of the Roman Catholics have aboriginal Indian maternal genetic ancestry; while the Y chromosomal DNA analysis indicates high frequency of R1a lineage, which is predominant in groups with higher ancestral North Indian (ANI) component. Therefore, we conclude that the Roman Catholics of Goa, Kumta and Mangalore regions are the remnants of very early lineages of Brahmin community of India, having Indo-Europeans genetic affinity along with cryptic Jewish admixture, which needs to be explored further.

RevDate: 2021-08-24

Irving-Pease EK, Muktupavela R, Dannemann M, et al (2021)

Quantitative Human Paleogenetics: What can Ancient DNA Tell us About Complex Trait Evolution?.

Frontiers in genetics, 12:703541.

Genetic association data from national biobanks and large-scale association studies have provided new prospects for understanding the genetic evolution of complex traits and diseases in humans. In turn, genomes from ancient human archaeological remains are now easier than ever to obtain, and provide a direct window into changes in frequencies of trait-associated alleles in the past. This has generated a new wave of studies aiming to analyse the genetic component of traits in historic and prehistoric times using ancient DNA, and to determine whether any such traits were subject to natural selection. In humans, however, issues about the portability and robustness of complex trait inference across different populations are particularly concerning when predictions are extended to individuals that died thousands of years ago, and for which little, if any, phenotypic validation is possible. In this review, we discuss the advantages of incorporating ancient genomes into studies of trait-associated variants, the need for models that can better accommodate ancient genomes into quantitative genetic frameworks, and the existing limits to inferences about complex trait evolution, particularly with respect to past populations.

RevDate: 2021-08-24

Li W, Ma Q, Yin P, et al (2021)

The GA 20-Oxidase Encoding Gene MSD1 Controls the Main Stem Elongation in Medicago truncatula.

Frontiers in plant science, 12:709625.

Plant height is an important agronomic trait that is closely related to biomass yield and crop production. Despite legumes comprise one of the largest monophyletic families that are second only to grasses in terms of economic and nutritional values, due to an ancient genome duplication event, most legume plants have complex genomes, thus the molecular mechanisms that determine plant height are less known in legumes. Here, we report the identification and characterization of MAIN STEM DWARF1 (MSD1), which is required for the plant height in the model legume Medicago truncatula. Loss of function of MSD1 leads to severely reduced main stem height but normal lateral branch elongation in M. truncatula. Histological analysis revealed that the msd1-1 main stem has shorter internodes with reduced cell size and number compared with the wild type, indicating that MSD1 affects cell elongation and cell proliferation. MSD1 encodes a putative GA 20-oxidase that is expressed at significantly higher levels in the main shoot apex than in the lateral shoot apices, suggesting that MSD1 expression is associated with its effect on the main stem elongation. UPLC-MS/MS analysis showed that GA9 and GA4, two identified products of the GA 20-oxidase, were severely reduced in msd1-1, and the dwarf phenotype of msd1-1 could be rescued by supplementation with gibberellic acid GA3, confirming that MSD1 functions as a biologically active GA 20-oxidase. Moreover, we found that disruption of either MtGA20ox7 or MtGA20ox8, homologs of MSD1, has little effects on the elongation of the main stem, while the msd1-1 mtga20ox7-1 mtga20ox8 triple mutants exhibits a severe short main shoot and lateral branches, as well as reduced leaf size, suggesting that MSD1 and its homologs MtGA20ox7 and MtGA20ox8, redundantly regulate M. truncatula shoot elongation and leaf development. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the molecular mechanism of MSD1-mediated regulation of main stem elongation in M. truncatula and provide insights into understanding the functional diversity of GA 20-oxidases in optimizing plant architecture in legumes.

RevDate: 2021-08-22

Liu Y, Wang T, Wu X, et al (2021)

Maternal genetic history of southern East Asians over the past 12,000 years.

Journal of genetics and genomics = Yi chuan xue bao pii:S1673-8527(21)00170-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Southern East Asia, including Guangxi and Fujian provinces in China, is home to diverse ethnic groups, languages, and cultures. Previous studies suggest a high complexity regarding population dynamics and the history of southern East Asians. However, large-scale genetic studies on ancient populations in this region are hindered by limited sample preservation. Here, using highly efficient DNA capture techniques, we obtain 48 complete mitochondrial genomes of individuals from Guangxi and Fujian in China and reconstruct their maternal genetic history over the past 12,000 years. We find a strong connection between southern East Asians dating to ~12,000-6000 years ago and present-day Southeast Asians. In addition, stronger genetic affinities to northern East Asians are observed in historical southern East Asians than Neolithic southern East Asians, suggesting increased interactions between northern and southern East Asians over time. Overall, we reveal dynamic connections between ancient southern East Asians and populations located in surrounding regions, as well as a shift in maternal genetic structure within the populations over time.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Kivisild T, Saag L, Hui R, et al (2021)

Patterns of genetic connectedness between modern and medieval Estonian genomes reveal the origins of a major ancestry component of the Finnish population.

American journal of human genetics, 108(9):1792-1806.

The Finnish population is a unique example of a genetic isolate affected by a recent founder event. Previous studies have suggested that the ancestors of Finnic-speaking Finns and Estonians reached the circum-Baltic region by the 1st millennium BC. However, high linguistic similarity points to a more recent split of their languages. To study genetic connectedness between Finns and Estonians directly, we first assessed the efficacy of imputation of low-coverage ancient genomes by sequencing a medieval Estonian genome to high depth (23×) and evaluated the performance of its down-sampled replicas. We find that ancient genomes imputed from >0.1× coverage can be reliably used in principal-component analyses without projection. By searching for long shared allele intervals (LSAIs; similar to identity-by-descent segments) in unphased data for >143,000 present-day Estonians, 99 Finns, and 14 imputed ancient genomes from Estonia, we find unexpectedly high levels of individual connectedness between Estonians and Finns for the last eight centuries in contrast to their clear differentiation by allele frequencies. High levels of sharing of these segments between Estonians and Finns predate the demographic expansion and late settlement process of Finland. One plausible source of this extensive sharing is the 8th-10th centuries AD migration event from North Estonia to Finland that has been proposed to explain uniquely shared linguistic features between the Finnish language and the northern dialect of Estonian and shared Christianity-related loanwords from Slavic. These results suggest that LSAI detection provides a computationally tractable way to detect fine-scale structure in large cohorts.

RevDate: 2021-08-23

Moore NE, LS Weyrich (2021)

A Standardized Approach for Shotgun Metagenomic Analysis of Ancient Dental Calculus.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2327:93-118.

Ancient dental calculus provides a challenging, yet unparalleled, opportunity to reconstruct ancient oral microbial communities and trace the origins of modern microbiota-associated diseases. Metagenomic analysis of ancient dental calculus using high-throughput DNA sequencing has proven itself as an effective method to accurately reconstruct microorganisms that once lived in the mouths of ancient humans. Here, we provide the strategy, methodologies, and approaches used to establish an ancient dental calculus project, from project conception, community engagement, sampling, extracting DNA, and preparing shotgun metagenomic DNA libraries for sequencing on an Illumina platform. We also discuss techniques to minimize background or contaminant DNA by monitoring and reducing contamination in calculus data sets, utilizing appropriate protective gear, and employing the use of sample decontamination strategies. In this methodology chapter, we hope to promote transparency in the ancient dental calculus research field and encourage collaboration across the ancient DNA research community.

RevDate: 2021-08-22

Freilich S, Ringbauer H, Los D, et al (2021)

Reconstructing genetic histories and social organisation in Neolithic and Bronze Age Croatia.

Scientific reports, 11(1):16729.

Ancient DNA studies have revealed how human migrations from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age transformed the social and genetic structure of European societies. Present-day Croatia lies at the heart of ancient migration routes through Europe, yet our knowledge about social and genetic processes here remains sparse. To shed light on these questions, we report new whole-genome data for 28 individuals dated to between ~ 4700 BCE-400 CE from two sites in present-day eastern Croatia. In the Middle Neolithic we evidence first cousin mating practices and strong genetic continuity from the Early Neolithic. In the Middle Bronze Age community that we studied, we find multiple closely related males suggesting a patrilocal social organisation. We also find in that community an unexpected genetic ancestry profile distinct from individuals found at contemporaneous sites in the region, due to the addition of hunter-gatherer-related ancestry. These findings support archaeological evidence for contacts with communities further north in the Carpathian Basin. Finally, an individual dated to Roman times exhibits an ancestry profile that is broadly present in the region today, adding an important data point to the substantial shift in ancestry that occurred in the region between the Bronze Age and today.

RevDate: 2021-08-17

Borry M, Hübner A, Rohrlach AB, et al (2021)

PyDamage: automated ancient damage identification and estimation for contigs in ancient DNA de novo assembly.

PeerJ, 9:e11845.

DNA de novo assembly can be used to reconstruct longer stretches of DNA (contigs), including genes and even genomes, from short DNA sequencing reads. Applying this technique to metagenomic data derived from archaeological remains, such as paleofeces and dental calculus, we can investigate past microbiome functional diversity that may be absent or underrepresented in the modern microbiome gene catalogue. However, compared to modern samples, ancient samples are often burdened with environmental contamination, resulting in metagenomic datasets that represent mixtures of ancient and modern DNA. The ability to rapidly and reliably establish the authenticity and integrity of ancient samples is essential for ancient DNA studies, and the ability to distinguish between ancient and modern sequences is particularly important for ancient microbiome studies. Characteristic patterns of ancient DNA damage, namely DNA fragmentation and cytosine deamination (observed as C-to-T transitions) are typically used to authenticate ancient samples and sequences, but existing tools for inspecting and filtering aDNA damage either compute it at the read level, which leads to high data loss and lower quality when used in combination with de novo assembly, or require manual inspection, which is impractical for ancient assemblies that typically contain tens to hundreds of thousands of contigs. To address these challenges, we designed PyDamage, a robust, automated approach for aDNA damage estimation and authentication of de novo assembled aDNA. PyDamage uses a likelihood ratio based approach to discriminate between truly ancient contigs and contigs originating from modern contamination. We test PyDamage on both on simulated aDNA data and archaeological paleofeces, and we demonstrate its ability to reliably and automatically identify contigs bearing DNA damage characteristic of aDNA. Coupled with aDNA de novo assembly, Pydamage opens up new doors to explore functional diversity in ancient metagenomic datasets.

RevDate: 2021-08-14

Segawa T, Yonezawa T, Mori H, et al (2021)

Ancient DNA reveals multiple origins and migration waves of extinct Japanese brown bear lineages.

Royal Society open science, 8(8):210518.

Little is known about how mammalian biogeography on islands was affected by sea-level fluctuations. In the Japanese Archipelago, brown bears (Ursus arctos) currently inhabit only Hokkaido, the northern island, but Pleistocene fossils indicate a past distribution throughout Honshu, Japan's largest island. However, the difficulty of recovering ancient DNA from fossils in temperate East Asia has limited our understanding of their evolutionary history. Here, we analysed mitochondrial DNA from a 32 500-year-old brown bear fossil from Honshu. Our results show that this individual belonged to a previously unknown lineage that split approximately 160 Ka from its sister lineage, the southern Hokkaido clade. This divergence time and fossil record suggest that brown bears migrated from the Eurasian continent to Honshu at least twice; the first population was an early-diverging lineage (greater than 340 Ka), and the second migrated via Hokkaido after approximately 160 Ka, during the ice age. Thus, glacial-age sea-level falls might have facilitated migrations of large mammals more frequently than previously thought, which may have had a substantial impact on ecosystem dynamics in these isolated islands.

RevDate: 2021-08-10

Syndercombe Court D (2021)

Mitochondrial DNA in forensic use.

Emerging topics in life sciences pii:229502 [Epub ahead of print].

Genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has always been a useful tool for forensic geneticists, mainly because of its ubiquitous presence in biological material, even in the absence of nuclear DNA. Sequencing, however, is not a skill that is part of the routine forensic analysis because of the relative rarity of requests, and the need for retention of necessary skill sets and associated accreditation issues. While standard Sanger sequencing may be relatively simple, many requests are made in the face of compromised biological samples. Newer technologies, provided through massively parallel sequencing (MPS), will increase the opportunity for scientists to include this tool in their routine, particularly for missing person investigations. MPS has also enabled a different approach to sequencing that can increase sensitivity in a more targeted approach. In these circumstances it is likely that only a laboratory that specialises in undertaking forensic mtDNA analysis will be able to take these difficult cases forward, more so because reviews of the literature have revealed significantly high levels of typing errors in publications reporting mtDNA sequences. The forensic community has set out important guidelines, not only in the practical aspects of analysis, but also in the interpretation of that sequence to ensure that accurate comparisons can be made. Analysis of low-level, compromised and ancient DNA is not easy, however, as contamination is extremely difficult to eliminate and circumstances leading to sequencing errors are all too easily introduced. These problems, and solutions, are discussed in the article in relation to several historic cases.

RevDate: 2021-08-09

Onley IR, Moseby KE, JJ Austin (2021)

Genomic Approaches for Conservation Management in Australia under Climate Change.

Life (Basel, Switzerland), 11(7):.

Conservation genetics has informed threatened species management for several decades. With the advent of advanced DNA sequencing technologies in recent years, it is now possible to monitor and manage threatened populations with even greater precision. Climate change presents a number of threats and challenges, but new genomics data and analytical approaches provide opportunities to identify critical evolutionary processes of relevance to genetic management under climate change. Here, we discuss the applications of such approaches for threatened species management in Australia in the context of climate change, identifying methods of facilitating viability and resilience in the face of extreme environmental stress. Using genomic approaches, conservation management practices such as translocation, targeted gene flow, and gene-editing can now be performed with the express intention of facilitating adaptation to current and projected climate change scenarios in vulnerable species, thus reducing extinction risk and ensuring the protection of our unique biodiversity for future generations. We discuss the current barriers to implementing conservation genomic projects and the efforts being made to overcome them, including communication between researchers and managers to improve the relevance and applicability of genomic studies. We present novel approaches for facilitating adaptive capacity and accelerating natural selection in species to encourage resilience in the face of climate change.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Guzmán-Solís AA, Villa-Islas V, Bravo-López MJ, et al (2021)

Ancient viral genomes reveal introduction of human pathogenic viruses into Mexico during the transatlantic slave trade.

eLife, 10: pii:68612.

After the European colonization of the Americas, there was a dramatic population collapse of the Indigenous inhabitants caused in part by the introduction of new pathogens. Although there is much speculation on the etiology of the Colonial epidemics, direct evidence for the presence of specific viruses during the Colonial era is lacking. To uncover the diversity of viral pathogens during this period, we designed an enrichment assay targeting ancient DNA (aDNA) from viruses of clinical importance and applied it to DNA extracts from individuals found in a Colonial hospital and a Colonial chapel (16th-18th century) where records suggest that victims of epidemics were buried during important outbreaks in Mexico City. This allowed us to reconstruct three ancient human parvovirus B19 genomes and one ancient human hepatitis B virus genome from distinct individuals. The viral genomes are similar to African strains, consistent with the inferred morphological and genetic African ancestry of the hosts as well as with the isotopic analysis of the human remains, suggesting an origin on the African continent. This study provides direct molecular evidence of ancient viruses being transported to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade and their subsequent introduction to New Spain. Altogether, our observations enrich the discussion about the etiology of infectious diseases during the Colonial period in Mexico.

RevDate: 2021-08-23

Rahmat RA, Humphries MA, Linacre AMT, et al (2021)

Freeze-drying improves DNA yield from teeth.

Forensic science international, 326:110938 pii:S0379-0738(21)00258-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The common method of preparing teeth prior to DNA extraction involves cleaning, decontamination, drying and pulverisation. Moisture in post-mortem teeth can promote bacterial growth and hydrolytic damage that could contribute to DNA degradation, whilst also possibly reducing the efficiency of sample pulverisation and DNA release. Here we compared DNA extraction from pig teeth, with- and without freeze-drying, to examine the impact of removing moisture on DNA yield. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to quantify an 83 bp mitochondrial DNA fragment and two nuclear DNA fragments of 82 bp and 150 bp. The comparative results showed that sample preparation with freeze-drying resulted in a higher DNA yield without compromising the DNA quality. This study highlights the advantage of incorporating a freeze-drying to improve the DNA yield and minimising the loss of DNA during sample preparation of teeth.

RevDate: 2021-08-03

Haller M, Bonczarowska JH, Rieger D, et al (2021)

Ancient DNA Study in Medieval Europeans Shows an Association Between HLA-DRB1*03 and Paratyphoid Fever.

Frontiers in immunology, 12:691475.

Outbreaks of infectious diseases repeatedly affected medieval Europe, leaving behind a large number of dead often inhumed in mass graves. Human remains interred in two burial pits from 14th century CE Germany exhibited molecular evidence of Salmonella enterica Paratyphi C (S. Paratyphi C) infection. The pathogen is responsible for paratyphoid fever, which was likely the cause of death for the buried individuals. This finding presented the unique opportunity to conduct a paratyphoid fever association study in a European population. We focused on HLA-DRB1*03:01 that is a known risk allele for enteric fever in present-day South Asians. We generated HLA profiles for 29 medieval S. Paratyphi C cases and 24 contemporaneous controls and compared these to a modern German population. The frequency of the risk allele was higher in the medieval cases (29.6%) compared to the contemporaneous controls (13%; p = 0.189), albeit not significantly so, possibly because of small sample sizes. Indeed, in comparison with the modern controls (n = 39,689; 10.2%; p = 0.005) the frequency difference became statistically significant. This comparison also suggested a slight decrease in the allele's prevalence between the medieval and modern controls. Up to now, this is the first study on the genetic predisposition to Salmonella infection in Europeans and the only association analysis on paratyphoid fever C. Functional investigation using computational binding prediction between HLA variants and S. Paratyphi and S. Typhi peptides supported a reduced recognition capacity of bacterial proteins by DRB1*03:01 relative to other common DRB1 variants. This pattern could potentially explain the disease association. Our results suggest a slightly reduced predisposition to paratyphoid fever in modern Europeans. The causative allele, however, is still common today, which can be explained by a trade-off, as DRB1*03:01 is protective against infectious respiratory diseases such as severe respiratory syndrome (SARS). It is thus possible that the allele also provided resistance to corona-like viruses in the past.

RevDate: 2021-08-31

Wang M, He G, Zou X, et al (2021)

Genetic insights into the paternal admixture history of Chinese Mongolians via high-resolution customized Y-SNP SNaPshot panels.

Forensic science international. Genetics, 54:102565.

The Mongolian people, one of the Mongolic-speaking populations, are native to the Mongolian Plateau in North China and southern Siberia. Many ancient DNA studies recently reported extensive population transformations during the Paleolithic to historic periods in this region, while little is known about the paternal genetic legacy of modern geographically different Mongolians. Here, we genotyped 215 Y-chromosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (Y-SNPs) and 37 Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (Y-STRs) among 679 Mongolian individuals from Hohhot, Hulunbuir, and Ordos in North China using the AGCU Y37 kit and our developed eight Y-SNP SNaPshot panels (including two panels first reported herein). The C-M130 Y-SNP SNaPshot panel defines 28 subhaplogroups, and the N/O/Q complementary Y-SNP SNaPshot panel defines 30 subhaplogroups of N1b-F2930, N1a1a1a1a3-B197, Q-M242, and O2a2b1a1a1a4a-CTS4658, which improved the resolution our developed Y-SNP SNaPshot panel set and could be applied for dissecting the finer-scale paternal lineages of Mongolic speakers. We found a strong association between Mongolian-prevailing haplogroups and some observed microvariants among the newly generated Y-STR haplotype data, suggesting the possibility of haplogroup prediction based on the distribution of Y-STR haplotypes. We identified three main ancestral sources of the observed Mongolian-dominant haplogroups, including the local lineage of C2*-M217 and incoming lineages from other regions of southern East Asia (O2*-M122, O1b*-P31, and N1*-CTS3750) and western Eurasia (R1*-M173). We also observed DE-M145, D1*-M174, C1*-F3393, G*-M201, I-M170, J*-M304, L-M20, O1a*-M119, and Q*-M242 at relatively low frequencies (< 5.00%), suggesting a complex admixture history between Mongolians and other incoming Eurasians from surrounding regions. Genetic clustering analyses indicated that the studied Mongolians showed close genetic affinities with other Altaic-speaking populations and Sinitic-speaking Hui people. The Y-SNP haplotype/haplogroup-based genetic legacy not only revealed that the stratification among geographically/linguistically/ethnically different Chinese populations was highly consistent with the geographical division and language classification, but also demonstrated that patrilineal genetic materials could provide fine-scale genetic structures among geographically different Mongolian people, suggesting that our developed high-resolution Y-SNP SNaPshot panels have the potential for forensic pedigree searches and biogeographical ancestry inference.

RevDate: 2021-08-11

Rijal DP, Heintzman PD, Lammers Y, et al (2021)

Sedimentary ancient DNA shows terrestrial plant richness continuously increased over the Holocene in northern Fennoscandia.

Science advances, 7(31):.

The effects of climate change on species richness are debated but can be informed by the past. Here, we generated a sedimentary ancient DNA dataset covering 10 lakes and applied novel methods for data harmonization. We assessed the impact of Holocene climate changes and nutrients on terrestrial plant richness in northern Fennoscandia. We find that richness increased steeply during the rapidly warming Early Holocene. In contrast to findings from most pollen studies, we show that richness continued to increase thereafter, although the climate was stable, with richness and the regional species pool only stabilizing during the past three millennia. Furthermore, overall increases in richness were greater in catchments with higher soil nutrient availability. We suggest that richness will increase with ongoing warming, especially at localities with high nutrient availability and assuming that human activity remains low in the region, although lags of millennia may be expected.

RevDate: 2021-08-25

Ottoni C, Borić D, Cheronet O, et al (2021)

Tracking the transition to agriculture in Southern Europe through ancient DNA analysis of dental calculus.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(32):.

Archaeological dental calculus, or mineralized plaque, is a key tool to track the evolution of oral microbiota across time in response to processes that impacted our culture and biology, such as the rise of farming during the Neolithic. However, the extent to which the human oral flora changed from prehistory until present has remained elusive due to the scarcity of data on the microbiomes of prehistoric humans. Here, we present our reconstruction of oral microbiomes via shotgun metagenomics of dental calculus in 44 ancient foragers and farmers from two regions playing a pivotal role in the spread of farming across Europe-the Balkans and the Italian Peninsula. We show that the introduction of farming in Southern Europe did not alter significantly the oral microbiomes of local forager groups, and it was in particular associated with a higher abundance of the species Olsenella sp. oral taxon 807. The human oral environment in prehistory was dominated by a microbial species, Anaerolineaceae bacterium oral taxon 439, that diversified geographically. A Near Eastern lineage of this bacterial commensal dispersed with Neolithic farmers and replaced the variant present in the local foragers. Our findings also illustrate that major taxonomic shifts in human oral microbiome composition occurred after the Neolithic and that the functional profile of modern humans evolved in recent times to develop peculiar mechanisms of antibiotic resistance that were previously absent.

RevDate: 2021-08-24

Lazagabaster IA, Rovelli V, Fabre PH, et al (2021)

Rare crested rat subfossils unveil Afro-Eurasian ecological corridors synchronous with early human dispersals.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(31):.

Biotic interactions between Africa and Eurasia across the Levant have invoked particular attention among scientists aiming to unravel early human dispersals. However, it remains unclear whether behavioral capacities enabled early modern humans to surpass the Saharo-Arabian deserts or if climatic changes triggered punctuated dispersals out of Africa. Here, we report an unusual subfossil assemblage discovered in a Judean Desert's cliff cave near the Dead Sea and dated to between ∼42,000 and at least 103,000 y ago. Paleogenomic and morphological comparisons indicate that the specimens belong to an extinct subspecies of the eastern African crested rat, Lophiomys imhausi maremortum subspecies nova, which diverged from the modern eastern African populations in the late Middle Pleistocene ∼226,000 to 165,000 y ago. The reported paleomitogenome is the oldest so far in the Levant, opening the door for future paleoDNA analyses in the region. Species distribution modeling points to the presence of continuous habitat corridors connecting eastern Africa with the Levant during the Last Interglacial ∼129,000 to 116,000 y ago, providing further evidence of the northern ingression of African biomes into Eurasia and reinforcing previous suggestions of the critical role of climate change in Late Pleistocene intercontinental biogeography. Furthermore, our study complements other paleoenvironmental proxies with local-instead of interregional-paleoenvironmental data, opening an unprecedented window into the Dead Sea rift paleolandscape.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Juras A, Ehler E, Chyleński M, et al (2021)

Maternal genetic origin of the late and final Neolithic human populations from present-day Poland.

American journal of physical anthropology, 176(2):223-236.

OBJECTIVE: We aim to identify maternal genetic affinities between the Middle to Final Neolithic (3850-2300 BC) populations from present-day Poland and possible genetic influences from the Pontic steppe.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted ancient DNA studies from populations associated with Złota, Globular Amphora, Funnel Beaker, and Corded Ware cultures (CWC). We sequenced genomic libraries on Illumina platform to generate 86 complete ancient mitochondrial genomes. Some of the samples were enriched for mitochondrial DNA using hybridization capture.

RESULTS: The maternal genetic composition found in Złota-associated individuals resembled that found in people associated with the Globular Amphora culture which indicates that both groups likely originated from the same maternal genetic background. Further, these two groups were closely related to the Funnel Beaker culture-associated population. None of these groups shared a close affinity to CWC-associated people. Haplogroup U4 was present only in the CWC group and absent in Złota group, Globular Amphora, and Funnel Beaker cultures.

DISCUSSION: The prevalence of mitochondrial haplogroups of Neolithic farmer origin identified in Early, Middle and Late Neolithic populations suggests a genetic continuity of these maternal lineages in the studied area. Although overlapping in time - and to some extent - in cultural expressions, none of the studied groups (Złota, Globular Amphora, Funnel Beaker), shared a close genetic affinity to CWC-associated people, indicating a larger extent of cultural influence from the Pontic steppe than genetic exchange. The higher frequency of haplogroup U5b found in populations associated with Funnel Beaker, Globular Amphora, and Złota cultures suggest a gradual maternal genetic influx from Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Moreover, presence of haplogroup U4 in Corded Ware groups is most likely associated with the migrations from the Pontic steppe at the end of the Neolithic and supports the observed genetic distances.

RevDate: 2021-08-17
CmpDate: 2021-08-17

Gerussi A, Carbone M, Corpechot C, et al (2021)

The genetic architecture of primary biliary cholangitis.

European journal of medical genetics, 64(9):104292.

Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare autoimmune disease of the liver affecting the small bile ducts. From a genetic point of view, PBC is a complex trait and several genetic and environmental factors have been called in action to explain its etiopathogenesis. Similarly to other complex traits, PBC has benefited from the introduction of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which identified many variants predisposing or protecting toward the development of the disease. While a progressive endeavour toward the characterization of candidate loci and downstream pathways is currently ongoing, there is still a relatively large portion of heritability of PBC to be revealed. In addition, genetic variation behind progression of the disease and therapeutic response are mostly to be investigated yet. This review outlines the state-of-the-art regarding the genetic architecture of PBC and provides some hints for future investigations, focusing on the study of gene-gene interactions, the application of whole-genome sequencing techniques, and the investigation of X chromosome that can be helpful to cover the missing heritability gap in PBC.

RevDate: 2021-08-14

Mitchell KJ (2021)

Ancient DNA from the koala lemur puts Madagascar on the paleogenomic map.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(30):.

RevDate: 2021-07-30

Rohrlach AB, Papac L, Childebayeva A, et al (2021)

Using Y-chromosome capture enrichment to resolve haplogroup H2 shows new evidence for a two-path Neolithic expansion to Western Europe.

Scientific reports, 11(1):15005.

Uniparentally-inherited markers on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the non-recombining regions of the Y chromosome (NRY), have been used for the past 30 years to investigate the history of humans from a maternal and paternal perspective. Researchers have preferred mtDNA due to its abundance in the cells, and comparatively high substitution rate. Conversely, the NRY is less susceptible to back mutations and saturation, and is potentially more informative than mtDNA owing to its longer sequence length. However, due to comparatively poor NRY coverage via shotgun sequencing, and the relatively low and biased representation of Y-chromosome variants on capture assays such as the 1240 k, ancient DNA studies often fail to utilize the unique perspective that the NRY can yield. Here we introduce a new DNA enrichment assay, coined YMCA (Y-mappable capture assay), that targets the "mappable" regions of the NRY. We show that compared to low-coverage shotgun sequencing and 1240 k capture, YMCA significantly improves the mean coverage and number of sites covered on the NRY, increasing the number of Y-haplogroup informative SNPs, and allowing for the identification of previously undiscovered variants. To illustrate the power of YMCA, we show that the analysis of ancient Y-chromosome lineages can help to resolve Y-chromosomal haplogroups. As a case study, we focus on H2, a haplogroup associated with a critical event in European human history: the Neolithic transition. By disentangling the evolutionary history of this haplogroup, we further elucidate the two separate paths by which early farmers expanded from Anatolia and the Near East to western Europe.

RevDate: 2021-08-13
CmpDate: 2021-08-11

Grewe F, Kronforst MR, Pierce NE, et al (2021)

Museum genomics reveals the Xerces blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces) was a distinct species driven to extinction.

Biology letters, 17(7):20210123.

The last Xerces blue butterfly was seen in the early 1940s, and its extinction is credited to human urban development. This butterfly has become a North American icon for insect conservation, but some have questioned whether it was truly a distinct species, or simply an isolated population of another living species. To address this question, we leveraged next-generation sequencing using a 93-year-old museum specimen. We applied a genome skimming strategy that aimed for the organellar genome and high-copy fractions of the nuclear genome by a shallow sequencing approach. From these data, we were able to recover over 200 million nucleotides, which assembled into several phylogenetically informative markers and the near-complete mitochondrial genome. From our phylogenetic analyses and haplotype network analysis we conclude that the Xerces blue butterfly was a distinct species driven to extinction.

RevDate: 2021-08-31

Hofreiter M, Sneberger J, Pospisek M, et al (2021)

Progress in forensic bone DNA analysis: Lessons learned from ancient DNA.

Forensic science international. Genetics, 54:102538.

Research on ancient and forensic DNA is related in many ways, and the two fields must deal with similar obstacles. Therefore, communication between these two communities has the potential to improve results in both research fields. Here, we present the insights gained in the ancient DNA community with regard to analyzing DNA from aged skeletal material and the potential use of the developed protocols in forensic work. We discuss the various steps, from choosing samples for DNA extraction to deciding between classical PCR amplification and massively parallel sequencing approaches. Based on the progress made in ancient DNA analyses combined with the requirements of forensic work, we suggest that there is substantial potential for incorporating ancient DNA approaches into forensic protocols, a process that has already begun to a considerable extent. However, taking full advantage of the experiences gained from ancient DNA work will require comparative studies by the forensic DNA community to tailor the methods developed for ancient samples to the specific needs of forensic studies and case work. If successful, in our view, the benefits for both communities would be considerable.

RevDate: 2021-07-22
CmpDate: 2021-07-16

Rossi C, Ruß-Popa G, Mattiangeli V, et al (2021)

Exceptional ancient DNA preservation and fibre remains of a Sasanian saltmine sheep mummy in Chehrābād, Iran.

Biology letters, 17(7):20210222.

Mummified remains have long attracted interest as a potential source of ancient DNA. However, mummification is a rare process that requires an anhydrous environment to rapidly dehydrate and preserve tissue before complete decomposition occurs. We present the whole-genome sequences (3.94 X) of an approximately 1600-year-old naturally mummified sheep recovered from Chehrābād, a salt mine in northwestern Iran. Comparative analyses of published ancient sequences revealed the remarkable DNA integrity of this mummy. Hallmarks of postmortem damage, fragmentation and hydrolytic deamination are substantially reduced, likely owing to the high salinity of this taphonomic environment. Metagenomic analyses reflect the profound influence of high-salt content on decomposition; its microbial profile is predominated by halophilic archaea and bacteria, possibly contributing to the remarkable preservation of the sample. Applying population genomic analyses, we find clustering of this sheep with Southwest Asian modern breeds, suggesting ancestry continuity. Genotyping of a locus influencing the woolly phenotype showed the presence of an ancestral 'hairy' allele, consistent with hair fibre imaging. This, along with derived alleles associated with the fat-tail phenotype, provides genetic evidence that Sasanian-period Iranians maintained specialized sheep flocks for different uses, with the 'hairy', 'fat-tailed'-genotyped sheep likely kept by the rural community of Chehrābād's miners.

RevDate: 2021-09-05

Gelabert P, Sawyer S, Bergström A, et al (2021)

Genome-scale sequencing and analysis of human, wolf, and bison DNA from 25,000-year-old sediment.

Current biology : CB, 31(16):3564-3574.e9.

Cave sediments have been shown to preserve ancient DNA but so far have not yielded the genome-scale information of skeletal remains. We retrieved and analyzed human and mammalian nuclear and mitochondrial environmental "shotgun" genomes from a single 25,000-year-old Upper Paleolithic sediment sample from Satsurblia cave, western Georgia:first, a human environmental genome with substantial basal Eurasian ancestry, which was an ancestral component of the majority of post-Ice Age people in the Near East, North Africa, and parts of Europe; second, a wolf environmental genome that is basal to extant Eurasian wolves and dogs and represents a previously unknown, likely extinct, Caucasian lineage; and third, a European bison environmental genome that is basal to present-day populations, suggesting that population structure has been substantially reshaped since the Last Glacial Maximum. Our results provide new insights into the Late Pleistocene genetic histories of these three species and demonstrate that direct shotgun sequencing of sediment DNA, without target enrichment methods, can yield genome-wide data informative of ancestry and phylogenetic relationships.

RevDate: 2021-07-12

Pinhasi R, K Douka (2021)

Before and after farming: The genetic structure of South China and Southeast Asia.

Cell, 184(14):3597-3598.

In this issue of Cell, Wang et al. harness ancient DNA methods to produce and analyze new genomic data from 31 individuals from South China, dated between 500 and 10,000-12,000 years ago. The study reveals a complex interplay between groups of three different genetic ancestries and provides a new perspective on interactions and agricultural dispersals in South China and Southeast Asia.

RevDate: 2021-07-06
CmpDate: 2021-07-06

Rotival M, Cossart P, L Quintana-Murci (2021)

Reconstructing 50,000 years of human history from our DNA: lessons from modern genomics.

Comptes rendus biologies, 344(2):177-187.

The advent of high throughput sequencing approaches and ancient DNA techniques have enabled reconstructing the history of human populations at an unprecedented level of resolution. The symposium from the French Academy of Sciences "50,000 ans d'épopée humaine dans notre ADN" has reviewed some of the latest contributions from the fields of genomics, archaeology, and linguistics to our understanding of >300,000 years of human history. DNA has revealed the richness of the human journey, from the deep divergences between human populations in Africa, to the first encounters of Homo Sapiens with other hominins on their way to Eurasia and the peopling of Remote Oceania. The symposium has also emphasized how migrations, cultural practices, and environmental pathogens have contributed to shape the genetic diversity of modern humans, through admixture, genetic drift or genetic adaptation. Finally, special attention was also given to how human behaviours have shaped the genome of other species, through the spreading of microbes and pathogens, as in the case of Yersinia Pestis, or through domestication, as elegantly demonstrated for dogs, horses, and apples. Altogether, this conference illustrated how the complex history of human populations is tightly linked with their contemporary genetic diversity that, in turn, has direct effects on their identity and health.

RevDate: 2021-07-02

de Vareilles A, Pelling R, Woodbridge J, et al (2021)

Archaeology and agriculture: plants, people, and past land-use.

Trends in ecology & evolution pii:S0169-5347(21)00176-2 [Epub ahead of print].

As a specialised branch of archaeology requiring specific field and laboratory methodologies, the contributions of archaeobotany have often been overlooked by the ecological research community. Developments in the fields of botany, chemistry, and ancient DNA analyses have greatly increased the potential for archaeobotany to contribute to topical questions relating to the Anthropocene and landscape transformations. We review the role of archaeobotany in identifying and describing past arable land use. Analytical techniques are illustrated with examples at both local and regional scales, demonstrating how archaeobotany can provide unique details of the wide array of past subsistence and land-use strategies. These data and their potential should be better recognised as important information that could underpin models seeking to evaluate or predict the effects of socioenvironmental interactions.

RevDate: 2021-08-27

Vai S, Diroma MA, Cannariato C, et al (2021)

How a Paleogenomic Approach Can Provide Details on Bioarchaeological Reconstruction: A Case Study from the Globular Amphorae Culture.

Genes, 12(6):.

Ancient human remains have the potential to explain a great deal about the prehistory of humankind. Due to recent technological and bioinformatics advances, their study, at the palaeogenomic level, can provide important information about population dynamics, culture changes, and the lifestyles of our ancestors. In this study, mitochondrial and nuclear genome data obtained from human bone remains associated with the Neolithic Globular Amphorae culture, which were recovered in the Megalithic barrow of Kierzkowo (Poland), were reanalysed to gain insight into the social organisation and use of the archaeological site and to provide information at the individual level. We were able to successfully estimate the minimum number of individuals, sex, kin relationships, and phenotypic traits of the buried individuals, despite the low level of preservation of the bone samples and the intricate taphonomic conditions. In addition, the evaluation of damage patterns allowed us to highlight the presence of "intruders"-that is, of more recent skeletal remains that did not belong to the original burial. Due to its characteristics, the study of the Kierzkowo barrow represented a challenge for the reconstruction of the biological profile of the human community who exploited it and an excellent example of the contribution that ancient genomic analysis can provide to archaeological reconstruction.

RevDate: 2021-07-25

Klecel W, E Martyniuk (2021)

From the Eurasian Steppes to the Roman Circuses: A Review of Early Development of Horse Breeding and Management.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(7):.

The domestication of the horse began about 5500 years ago in the Eurasian steppes. In the following millennia horses spread across the ancient world, and their role in transportation and warfare affected every ancient culture. Ownership of horses became an indicator of wealth and social status. The importance of horses led to a growing interest in their breeding and management. Many phenotypic traits, such as height, behavior, and speed potential, have been proven to be a subject of selection; however, the details of ancient breeding practices remain mostly unknown. From the fourth millennium BP, through the Iron Age, many literature sources thoroughly describe horse training systems, as well as various aspects of husbandry, many of which are still in use today. The striking resemblance of ancient and modern equine practices leaves us wondering how much was accomplished through four thousand years of horse breeding.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Purnomo GA, Mitchell KJ, O'Connor S, et al (2021)

Mitogenomes Reveal Two Major Influxes of Papuan Ancestry across Wallacea Following the Last Glacial Maximum and Austronesian Contact.

Genes, 12(7):.

The tropical archipelago of Wallacea contains thousands of individual islands interspersed between mainland Asia and Near Oceania, and marks the location of a series of ancient oceanic voyages leading to the peopling of Sahul-i.e., the former continent that joined Australia and New Guinea at a time of lowered sea level-by 50,000 years ago. Despite the apparent deep antiquity of human presence in Wallacea, prior population history research in this region has been hampered by patchy archaeological and genetic records and is largely concentrated upon more recent history that follows the arrival of Austronesian seafarers ~3000-4000 years ago (3-4 ka). To shed light on the deeper history of Wallacea and its connections with New Guinea and Australia, we performed phylogeographic analyses on 656 whole mitogenomes from these three regions, including 186 new samples from eight Wallacean islands and three West Papuan populations. Our results point to a surprisingly dynamic population history in Wallacea, marked by two periods of extensive demographic change concentrated around the Last Glacial Maximum ~15 ka and post-Austronesian contact ~3 ka. These changes appear to have greatly diminished genetic signals informative about the original peopling of Sahul, and have important implications for our current understanding of the population history of the region.

RevDate: 2021-07-14
CmpDate: 2021-07-14

Baldoni M, Nardi A, De Angelis F, et al (2021)

How Does Diet Influence Our Lives? Evaluating the Relationship between Isotopic Signatures and Mortality Patterns in Italian Roman Imperial and Medieval Periods.

Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(13):.

The present research investigates the relationship between dietary habits and mortality patterns in the Roman Imperial and Medieval periods. The reconstructions of population dynamics and subsistence strategies provide a fascinating source of information for understanding our history. This is particularly true given that the changes in social, economic, political, and religious aspects related to the transition from the Roman period to the Middle Ages have been widely discussed. We analyzed the isotopic and mortality patterns of 616 individuals from 18 archeological sites (the Medieval Latium sites of Colonna, Santa Severa, Allumiere, Cencelle, and 14 Medieval and Imperial funerary contexts from Rome) to compile a survivorship analysis. A semi-parametric approach was applied, suggesting variations in mortality patterns between sexes in the Roman period. Nitrogen isotopic signatures influenced mortality in both periods, showing a quadratic and a linear effect for Roman Imperial and Medieval populations, respectively. No influence of carbon isotopic signatures has been detected for Roman Imperial populations. Conversely, increased mortality risk for rising carbon isotopic values was observed in Medieval samples.

RevDate: 2021-08-19
CmpDate: 2021-08-19

Sahoo S, Samal R, S Biswas (2021)

Efficacy of a novel bone preprocessing method for better DNA yield.

Forensic science international, 325:110887.

In cases involving identification of missing persons, mass disasters and ancient DNA investigations, bone and teeth samples are often the only, and almost always the best, biological material available for DNA profiling. Standard methods for extraction of DNA from such samples involve grinding of the bone and teeth samples. Here, we present an extremely efficient protocol for recovery of DNA from bone samples by a method of scrapping. The study was carried out on 25 samples and it was found that the quantity of DNA isolated by the scrapping method was up to 1.131 ng/µl with a success rate of 93% as compared to a much lower yield of 0.359 ng/µl DNA isolated with a success rate of 28% through the grinding method. The scrapping method of DNA extraction has been proven to be extremely useful in forensic examination of challenging samples that had multiple failures using the traditional grinding method.

RevDate: 2021-07-13

Ingman T, Eisenmann S, Skourtanioti E, et al (2021)

Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh), Hatay, Turkey during the 2nd millennium BC: Integration of isotopic and genomic evidence.

PloS one, 16(6):e0241883.

The Middle and Late Bronze Age, a period roughly spanning the 2nd millennium BC (ca. 2000-1200 BC) in the Near East, is frequently referred to as the first 'international age', characterized by intense and far-reaching contacts between different entities from the eastern Mediterranean to the Near East and beyond. In a large-scale tandem study of stable isotopes and ancient DNA of individuals excavated at Tell Atchana (Alalakh, located in Hatay, Turkey), we explored the role of mobility at the capital of a regional kingdom, named Mukish during the Late Bronze Age, which spanned the Amuq Valley and some areas beyond. We generated strontium and oxygen isotope data from dental enamel for 53 individuals and 77 individuals, respectively, and added ancient DNA data of 10 newly sequenced individuals to a dataset of 27 individuals published in 2020. Additionally, we improved the DNA coverage of one individual from this 2020 dataset. The DNA data revealed a very homogeneous gene pool. This picture of an overwhelmingly local ancestry was consistent with the evidence of local upbringing in most of the individuals indicated by the isotopic data, where only five were found to be non-local. High levels of contact, trade, and exchange of ideas and goods in the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, therefore, seem not to have translated into high levels of individual mobility detectable at Tell Atchana.

RevDate: 2021-07-19

Euskirchen A, Hartmann L, Mazanec J, et al (2021)

The influence of sample quantity and lysis parameters on the success of ancient DNA extraction from skeletal remains.

BioTechniques, 71(1):376-381.

DNA extraction is of utmost importance in archaeobiology, as it determines the success of further DNA analyses. This study concentrates on the success of ancient DNA extraction using silica spin columns and PCR-based analysis from archaeological skeletal material and investigates the influence of sample quantity, lysis time and lysis temperature during sample preparation. The results show that lysis times ranging from 2 to 48 h are suitable, and that lysis should be carried out at a constant temperature of 56°C. Concerning sample quantity, 10 mg for mitochondrial DNA and 50 mg for chromosomal DNA are sufficient for high quality analyses. Thus invaluable sample material can be saved, and time of sample preparation can be reduced considerably.

RevDate: 2021-07-01

Bisso-Machado R, NJR Fagundes (2021)

Uniparental genetic markers in Native Americans: A summary of all available data from ancient and contemporary populations.

American journal of physical anthropology [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to create a comprehensive summary of available mtDNA and Y-chromosome data for Native Americans from North, Central, and South America, including both modern and ancient DNA. To illustrate the usefulness of this dataset we present a broad picture of the genetic variation for both markers across the Americas.

METHODS: We searched PubMed, ResearchGate, Google Scholar for studies about mtDNA or Y-chromosome variation in Native American populations, including geographic, linguistic, ecological (ecoregion), archeological and chronological information. We used AMOVA to estimate the genetic structure associated with language and ecoregion grouping and Mantel tests to evaluate the correlation between genetic and geographic distances.

RESULTS: Genetic data were obtained from 321 primary sources, including 22,569 individuals from 298 contemporary populations, and 3628 individuals from 202 archeological populations. MtDNA lineages of probable non-Amerindian origin were rare, in contrast with Y-chromosome lineages. Mantel tests showed a statistically significant correlation for the whole continent considering mtDNA but not the Y-chromosome. Genetic structure between groups was always stronger for mtDNA than for the Y-chromosome.

CONCLUSIONS: This study summarizes decades of research conducted in Native American populations for both mtDNA and the Y-chromosome. Continental or sub-continental patterns of variation reveal that most of the genetic variation occurs within populations rather than among linguistic or ecoregional groups, and that isolation by distance is barely detectable in most population sets. The genetic structure among groups was always larger for mtDNA than for the Y-chromosome, suggesting between-sex differences in gene flow.

RevDate: 2021-09-06
CmpDate: 2021-09-06

Sacks BN, Mitchell KJ, Quinn CB, et al (2021)

Pleistocene origins, western ghost lineages, and the emerging phylogeographic history of the red wolf and coyote.

Molecular ecology, 30(17):4292-4304.

The red wolf (Canis rufus) of the eastern US was driven to near-extinction by colonial-era persecution and habitat conversion, which facilitated coyote (C. latrans) range expansion and widespread hybridization with red wolves. The observation of some grey wolf (C. lupus) ancestry within red wolves sparked controversy over whether it was historically a subspecies of grey wolf with its predominant "coyote-like" ancestry obtained from post-colonial coyote hybridization (2-species hypothesis) versus a distinct species closely related to the coyote that hybridized with grey wolf (3-species hypothesis). We analysed mitogenomes sourced from before the 20th century bottleneck and coyote invasion, along with hundreds of modern amplicons, which led us to reject the 2-species model and to investigate a broader phylogeographic 3-species model suggested by the fossil record. Our findings broadly support this model, in which red wolves ranged the width of the American continent prior to arrival of the grey wolf to the mid-continent 60-80 ka; red wolves subsequently disappeared from the mid-continent, relegated to California and the eastern forests, which ushered in emergence of the coyote in their place (50-30 ka); by the early Holocene (12-10 ka), coyotes had expanded into California, where they admixed with and phenotypically replaced western red wolves in a process analogous to the 20th century coyote invasion of the eastern forests. Findings indicate that the red wolf pre-dated not only European colonization but human, and possibly coyote, presence in North America. These findings highlight the urgency of expanding conservation efforts for the red wolf.

RevDate: 2021-07-12

Wang T, Wang W, Xie G, et al (2021)

Human population history at the crossroads of East and Southeast Asia since 11,000 years ago.

Cell, 184(14):3829-3841.e21.

Past human genetic diversity and migration between southern China and Southeast Asia have not been well characterized, in part due to poor preservation of ancient DNA in hot and humid regions. We sequenced 31 ancient genomes from southern China (Guangxi and Fujian), including two ∼12,000- to 10,000-year-old individuals representing the oldest humans sequenced from southern China. We discovered a deeply diverged East Asian ancestry in the Guangxi region that persisted until at least 6,000 years ago. We found that ∼9,000- to 6,000-year-old Guangxi populations were a mixture of local ancestry, southern ancestry previously sampled in Fujian, and deep Asian ancestry related to Southeast Asian Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers, showing broad admixture in the region predating the appearance of farming. Historical Guangxi populations dating to ∼1,500 to 500 years ago are closely related to Tai-Kadai and Hmong-Mien speakers. Our results show heavy interactions among three distinct ancestries at the crossroads of East and Southeast Asia.

RevDate: 2021-08-30
CmpDate: 2021-08-30

Souilmi Y, Lauterbur ME, Tobler R, et al (2021)

An ancient viral epidemic involving host coronavirus interacting genes more than 20,000 years ago in East Asia.

Current biology : CB, 31(16):3504-3514.e9.

The current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has emphasized the vulnerability of human populations to novel viral pressures, despite the vast array of epidemiological and biomedical tools now available. Notably, modern human genomes contain evolutionary information tracing back tens of thousands of years, which may help identify the viruses that have impacted our ancestors-pointing to which viruses have future pandemic potential. Here, we apply evolutionary analyses to human genomic datasets to recover selection events involving tens of human genes that interact with coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, that likely started more than 20,000 years ago. These adaptive events were limited to the population ancestral to East Asian populations. Multiple lines of functional evidence support an ancient viral selective pressure, and East Asia is the geographical origin of several modern coronavirus epidemics. An arms race with an ancient coronavirus, or with a different virus that happened to use similar interactions as coronaviruses with human hosts, may thus have taken place in ancestral East Asian populations. By learning more about our ancient viral foes, our study highlights the promise of evolutionary information to better predict the pandemics of the future. Importantly, adaptation to ancient viral epidemics in specific human populations does not necessarily imply any difference in genetic susceptibility between different human populations, and the current evidence points toward an overwhelming impact of socioeconomic factors in the case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

RevDate: 2021-07-19

Essel E, Korlević P, M Meyer (2021)

A method for the temperature-controlled extraction of DNA from ancient bones.

BioTechniques, 71(1):382-386.

Contamination with microbial and other exogenous DNA poses a significant challenge in the generation of genome-wide sequence data from ancient skeletal remains. Here we describe a method for separating ancient DNA into multiple fractions during DNA extraction by sequential temperature-controlled release of DNA into sodium phosphate buffer. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the method using a set of three ancient bones resulted in between 1.6- and 32-fold enrichment of endogenous DNA compared with regular DNA extraction. For two bones, the method outperformed previous methods of decontaminating ancient bones, including hypochlorite treatment, which resulted in near-complete destruction of DNA in the worst-preserved sample. This extraction method expands the spectrum of methods available for depleting contaminant DNA from ancient skeletal remains.

RevDate: 2021-07-17

Marciniak S, Mughal MR, Godfrey LR, et al (2021)

Evolutionary and phylogenetic insights from a nuclear genome sequence of the extinct, giant, "subfossil" koala lemur Megaladapis edwardsi.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(26):.

No endemic Madagascar animal with body mass >10 kg survived a relatively recent wave of extinction on the island. From morphological and isotopic analyses of skeletal "subfossil" remains we can reconstruct some of the biology and behavioral ecology of giant lemurs (primates; up to ∼160 kg) and other extraordinary Malagasy megafauna that survived into the past millennium. Yet, much about the evolutionary biology of these now-extinct species remains unknown, along with persistent phylogenetic uncertainty in some cases. Thankfully, despite the challenges of DNA preservation in tropical and subtropical environments, technical advances have enabled the recovery of ancient DNA from some Malagasy subfossil specimens. Here, we present a nuclear genome sequence (∼2× coverage) for one of the largest extinct lemurs, the koala lemur Megaladapis edwardsi (∼85 kg). To support the testing of key phylogenetic and evolutionary hypotheses, we also generated high-coverage nuclear genomes for two extant lemurs, Eulemur rufifrons and Lepilemur mustelinus, and we aligned these sequences with previously published genomes for three other extant lemurs and 47 nonlemur vertebrates. Our phylogenetic results confirm that Megaladapis is most closely related to the extant Lemuridae (typified in our analysis by E. rufifrons) to the exclusion of L. mustelinus, which contradicts morphology-based phylogenies. Our evolutionary analyses identified significant convergent evolution between M. edwardsi and an extant folivore (a colobine monkey) and an herbivore (horse) in genes encoding proteins that function in plant toxin biodegradation and nutrient absorption. These results suggest that koala lemurs were highly adapted to a leaf-based diet, which may also explain their convergent craniodental morphology with the small-bodied folivore Lepilemur.

RevDate: 2021-08-25

Baleka S, Herridge VL, Catalano G, et al (2021)

Estimating the dwarfing rate of an extinct Sicilian elephant.

Current biology : CB, 31(16):3606-3612.e7.

Evolution on islands, together with the often extreme phenotypic changes associated with it, has attracted much interest from evolutionary biologists. However, measuring the rate of change of phenotypic traits of extinct animals can be challenging, in part due to the incompleteness of the fossil record. Here, we use combined molecular and fossil evidence to define the minimum and maximum rate of dwarfing in an extinct Mediterranean dwarf elephant from Puntali Cave (Sicily).1 Despite the challenges associated with recovering ancient DNA from warm climates,2 we successfully retrieved a mitogenome from a sample with an estimated age between 175,500 and 50,000 years. Our results suggest that this specific Sicilian elephant lineage evolved from one of the largest terrestrial mammals that ever lived3 to an island species weighing less than 20% of its original mass with an estimated mass reduction between 0.74 and 200.95 kg and height reduction between 0.15 and 41.49 mm per generation. We show that combining ancient DNA with paleontological and geochronological evidence can constrain the timing of phenotypic changes with greater accuracy than could be achieved using any source of evidence in isolation.

RevDate: 2021-06-19

Roca-Rada X, Politis G, Messineo PG, et al (2021)

Ancient mitochondrial genomes from the Argentinian Pampas inform the early peopling of the Southern Cone of South America.

iScience, 24(6):102553.

The Southern Cone of South America (SCSA) is a key region for investigations about the peopling of the Americas. However, little is known about the eastern sector, the Argentinian Pampas. We analyzed 18 mitochondrial genomes-7 of which are novel-from human skeletal remains from 3 Early to Late Holocene archaeological sites. The Pampas present a distinctive genetic makeup compared to other Middle to Late Holocene pre-Columbian SCSA populations. We also report the earliest individuals carrying SCSA-specific mitochondrial haplogroups D1j and D1g from Early and Middle Holocene, respectively. Using these deep calibration time points in Bayesian phylogenetic reconstructions, we suggest that the first settlers of the Pampas were part of a single and rapid dispersal ∼15,600 years ago. Finally, we propose that present-day genetic differences between the Pampas and the rest of the SCSA are due to founder effects, genetic drift, and a partial population replacement ∼9,000 years ago.

RevDate: 2021-07-02
CmpDate: 2021-07-02

Gibbons A (2021)

Genomes offer rare glimpse of Neanderthal family groups.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 372(6548):1251-1252.

RevDate: 2021-06-24

Smith AD, Kamiński MJ, Kanda K, et al (2021)

Recovery and analysis of ancient beetle DNA from subfossil packrat middens using high-throughput sequencing.

Scientific reports, 11(1):12635.

The study of ancient DNA is revolutionizing our understanding of paleo-ecology and the evolutionary history of species. Insects are essential components in many ecosystems and constitute the most diverse group of animals. Yet they are largely neglected in ancient DNA studies. We report the results of the first targeted investigation of insect ancient DNA to positively identify subfossil insects to species, which includes the recovery of endogenous content from samples as old as ~ 34,355 ybp. Potential inhibitors currently limiting widespread research on insect ancient DNA are discussed, including the lack of closely related genomic reference sequences (decreased mapping efficiency) and the need for more extensive collaborations with insect taxonomists. The advantages of insect-based studies are also highlighted, especially in the context of understanding past climate change. In this regard, insect remains from ancient packrat middens are a rich and largely uninvestigated resource for exploring paleo-ecology and species dynamics over time.

RevDate: 2021-08-27

Speidel L, Cassidy L, Davies RW, et al (2021)

Inferring Population Histories for Ancient Genomes Using Genome-Wide Genealogies.

Molecular biology and evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Ancient genomes anchor genealogies in directly observed historical genetic variation and contextualise ancestral lineages with archaeological insights into their geography and cultural associations. However, the majority of ancient genomes are of lower coverage and cannot be directly built into genealogies. Here, we present a fast and scalable method, Colate, the first approach for inferring ancestral relationships through time between low-coverage genomes without requiring phasing or imputation. Our approach leverages sharing patterns of mutations dated using a genealogy to infer coalescence rates. For deeply sequenced ancient genomes, we additionally introduce an extension of the Relate algorithm for joint inference of genealogies incorporating such genomes. Application to 278 present-day and 430 ancient DNA samples of > 0.5x mean coverage allows us to identify dynamic population structure and directional gene flow between early farmer and European hunter-gatherer groups. We further show that the previously reported, but still unexplained, increase in the TCC/TTC mutation rate, which is strongest in West Eurasia today, was already present at similar strength and widespread in the Late Glacial Period ∼10k-15k years ago, but is not observed in samples >30k years old. It is strongest in Neolithic farmers, and highly correlated with recent coalescence rates between other genomes and a 10,000-year-old Anatolian hunter-gatherer. This suggests gene-flow among ancient peoples postdating the last glacial maximum as widespread and localises the driver of this mutational signal in both time and geography in that region. Our approach should be widely applicable in future for addressing other evolutionary questions, and in other species.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Dorman MJ, Thomson NR, J Campos (2021)

Genomic contextualisation of ancient DNA molecular data from an Argentinian fifth pandemic Vibrio cholerae infection.

Microbial genomics, 7(6):.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Del Corvo M, Lazzari B, Capra E, et al (2021)

Methylome Patterns of Cattle Adaptation to Heat Stress.

Frontiers in genetics, 12:633132.

Heat stress has a detrimental impact on cattle health, welfare and productivity by affecting gene expression, metabolism and immune response, but little is known on the epigenetic mechanisms mediating the effect of temperature at the cellular and organism level. In this study, we investigated genome-wide DNA methylation in blood samples collected from 5 bulls of the heat stress resilient Nellore breed and 5 bulls of the Angus that are more heat stress susceptible, exposed to the sun and high temperature-high humidity during the summer season of the Brazilian South-East region. The methylomes were analyzed during and after the exposure by Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing, which provided genome-wide single-base resolution methylation profiles. Significant methylation changes between stressful and recovery periods were observed in 819 genes. Among these, 351 were only seen in Angus, 366 were specific to Nellore, and 102 showed significant changes in methylation patterns in both breeds. KEGG and Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analyses showed that responses were breed-specific. Interestingly, in Nellore significant genes and pathways were mainly involved in stress responses and cellular defense and were under methylated during heat stress, whereas in Angus the response was less focused. These preliminary results suggest that heat challenge induces changes in methylation patterns in specific loci, which should be further scrutinized to assess their role in heat tolerance.

RevDate: 2021-06-12

Fareed M, Sharma V, Singh I, et al (2021)

Whole-Exome Sequencing Reveals a Rare Variant of OTOF Gene Causing Congenital Non-syndromic Hearing Loss Among Large Muslim Families Favoring Consanguinity.

Frontiers in genetics, 12:641925.

Non-syndromic hearing loss (NSHL) is one of the most frequent auditory deficits in humans characterized by high clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Very few studies have reported the relationship between OTOF (Locus: DFNB9) and hereditary hearing loss in India. We aimed to decipher the genetic cause of prelingual NSHL in a large affected Muslim consanguineous families using whole-exome sequencing (WES). The study was performed following the guidelines and regulations of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi. The population was identified from Jammu and Kashmir, the Northernmost part of India. Near about 100 individuals were born deaf-mute in the village of 3,000 inhabitants. A total of 103 individuals (with 52 cases and 51 controls) agreed to participate in this study. Our study revealed a rare non-sense homozygous mutation NC_000002.11:g.2:26702224G>A; NM_001287489.2:c.2122C>T; NP_001274418.1:p.(Arg708∗) in the 18th exon of the OTOF gene. Our study provides the first insight into this homozygous condition, which has not been previously reported in ExAC, 1,000 Genome and genomAD databases. Furthermore, the variant was confirmed in the population cohort (n = 103) using Sanger sequencing. In addition to the pathogenic OTOF variant, the WES data also revealed novel and recurrent mutations in CDH23, GJB2, MYO15A, OTOG, and SLC26A4 genes. The rare pathogenic and the novel variants observed in this study have been submitted to the ClinVar database and are publicly available online with the accessions SCV001448680.1, SCV001448682.1 and SCV001448681.1. We conclude that OTOF-related NSHL hearing loss is prevalent in the region due to successive inbreeding in its generations. We recommend premarital genetic testing and genetic counseling strategies to minimize and control the disease risk in future generations.

RevDate: 2021-06-12

Locarnini SA, Littlejohn M, LKW Yuen (2021)

Origins and Evolution of the Primate Hepatitis B Virus.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:653684.

Recent interest in the origins and subsequent evolution of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has strengthened with the discovery of ancient HBV sequences in fossilized remains of humans dating back to the Neolithic period around 7,000 years ago. Metagenomic analysis identified a number of African non-human primate HBV sequences in the oldest samples collected, indicating that human HBV may have at some stage, evolved in Africa following zoonotic transmissions from higher primates. Ancestral genotype A and D isolates were also discovered from the Bronze Age, not in Africa but rather Eurasia, implying a more complex evolutionary and migratory history for HBV than previously recognized. Most full-length ancient HBV sequences exhibited features of inter genotypic recombination, confirming the importance of recombination and the mutation rate of the error-prone viral replicase as drivers for successful HBV evolution. A model for the origin and evolution of HBV is proposed, which includes multiple cross-species transmissions and favors subsequent recombination events that result in a pathogen and can successfully transmit and cause persistent infection in the primate host.

RevDate: 2021-06-25
CmpDate: 2021-06-25

Irish JD, D Usai (2021)

The transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture in Nubia: dental evidence for and against selection, population continuity and discontinuity.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1952):20210969.

Some researchers posit population continuity between Late Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers of the late Pleistocene and Holocene agriculturalists from Lower (northern) Nubia, in northeast Africa. Substantial craniodental differences in these time-successive groups are suggested to result from in situ evolution. Specifically, these populations are considered a model example for subsistence-related selection worldwide in the transition to agriculture. Others question continuity, with findings indicating that the largely homogeneous Holocene populations differ significantly from late Pleistocene Lower Nubians. If the latter are representative of the local populace, post-Pleistocene discontinuity is implied. So who was ancestral to the Holocene agriculturalists? Dental morphological analyses of 18 samples (1075 individuals), including one dated to the 12th millennium BCE from Al Khiday, near the Upper Nubian border, may provide an answer. It is the first Late Palaeolithic sample (n = 55) recovered within the region in approximately 50 years. Using the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System to record traits and multivariate statistics to estimate biological affinities, Al Khiday is comparable to several Holocene samples, yet also highly divergent from contemporaneous Lower Nubians. Thus, population continuity is indicated after all, but with late Pleistocene Upper-rather than Lower Nubians as originally suggested-assuming dental traits are adequate proxies for ancient DNA.

RevDate: 2021-07-04

Daly KG, Mattiangeli V, Hare AJ, et al (2021)

Herded and hunted goat genomes from the dawn of domestication in the Zagros Mountains.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(25):.

The Aceramic Neolithic (∼9600 to 7000 cal BC) period in the Zagros Mountains, western Iran, provides some of the earliest archaeological evidence of goat (Capra hircus) management and husbandry by circa 8200 cal BC, with detectable morphological change appearing ∼1,000 y later. To examine the genomic imprint of initial management and its implications for the goat domestication process, we analyzed 14 novel nuclear genomes (mean coverage 1.13X) and 32 mitochondrial (mtDNA) genomes (mean coverage 143X) from two such sites, Ganj Dareh and Tepe Abdul Hosein. These genomes show two distinct clusters: those with domestic affinity and a minority group with stronger wild affinity, indicating that managed goats were genetically distinct from wild goats at this early horizon. This genetic duality, the presence of long runs of homozygosity, shared ancestry with later Neolithic populations, a sex bias in archaeozoological remains, and demographic profiles from across all layers of Ganj Dareh support management of genetically domestic goat by circa 8200 cal BC, and represent the oldest to-this-date reported livestock genomes. In these sites a combination of high autosomal and mtDNA diversity, contrasting limited Y chromosomal lineage diversity, an absence of reported selection signatures for pigmentation, and the wild morphology of bone remains illustrates domestication as an extended process lacking a strong initial bottleneck, beginning with spatial control, demographic manipulation via biased male culling, captive breeding, and subsequently phenotypic and genomic selection.

RevDate: 2021-06-05

Redjala O, Sari-Ahmed M, Cherifi M, et al (2021)

Children hypertension in Northern Africa.

American journal of cardiovascular disease, 11(2):222-230.

OBJECTIVES: To assess factors associated with prehypertension and hypertension among children in North Africa.

METHODS: An epidemiological observational, school- and college-based study among 3562 healthy children and adolescents to assess factors associated with blood pressure categories (normal, prehypertensive, hypertensive), including perinatal (gestational age, birth weight, breastfeeding) and current lifestyle characteristics (body mass index, time spent watching a screen and time spent exercising).

RESULTS: Prevalence of hypertension increased with age from 8.7% between 6-10 years to 14.7% between 11-15 years, and 15.6% above 15 years. Prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension increased with body mass index from 9.9% and 11.5% among children not overweight to 15.6% (RR 1.58, 95% CI 1.24-2.02, P<0.001) and 17.2% (RR 1.50, 95% CI 1.22-1.85, P<0.001) among those overweight and to 26.8% (RR 2.72, 95% CI 2.04-3.64, P<0.01) and 32.3% (RR 2.82, 95% CI 2.27-3.50, P<0.01) among obese children. There was a trend of association of prehypertension with the time spent watching Television, internet and electronic games. Children whose mother or father had a history of hypertension had a trend to be prehypertensive or hypertensive. A parental hypertension was found in 33.6% of normotensive, 38.2% of prehypertensive, and 42.6% of hypertensive children (P=0.05). Children with prehypertension or hypertension were more likely to have a diabetic father or mother (22.8% and 22.6% vs 15.8%, respectively, P=0.01). Also, prehypertension and hypertension were associated with shorter gestational age, early birth, reduced birth weight, and shorter breastfeeding.

CONCLUSION: Prehypertension and hypertension have a high prevalence among children in North Africa. They are associated with overweight, obesity, diabetes, a shorter gestational age, a lower birth weight and a shorter breastfeeding.

RevDate: 2021-06-08

Brown AG, Van Hardenbroek M, Fonville T, et al (2021)

Ancient DNA, lipid biomarkers and palaeoecological evidence reveals construction and life on early medieval lake settlements.

Scientific reports, 11(1):11807.

Direct evidence of ancient human occupation is typically established through archaeological excavation. Excavations are costly and destructive, and practically impossible in some lake and wetland environments. We present here an alternative approach, providing direct evidence from lake sediments using DNA metabarcoding, steroid lipid biomarkers (bile acids) and from traditional environmental analyses. Applied to an early Medieval Celtic settlement in Ireland (a crannog) this approach provides a site chronology and direct evidence of human occupation, crops, animal farming and on-site slaughtering. This is the first independently-dated, continuous molecular archive of human activity from an archeological site, demonstrating a link between animal husbandry, food resources, island use. These sites are under threat but are impossible to preserve in-situ so this approach can be used, with or without excavation, to produce a robust and full site chronology and provide direct evidence of occupation, the use of plants and animals, and activities such as butchery.

RevDate: 2021-06-25
CmpDate: 2021-06-25

Eriksson JS, Bacon CD, Bennett DJ, et al (2021)

Gene count from target sequence capture places three whole genome duplication events in Hibiscus L. (Malvaceae).

BMC ecology and evolution, 21(1):107.

BACKGROUND: The great diversity in plant genome size and chromosome number is partly due to polyploidization (i.e. genome doubling events). The differences in genome size and chromosome number among diploid plant species can be a window into the intriguing phenomenon of past genome doubling that may be obscured through time by the process of diploidization. The genus Hibiscus L. (Malvaceae) has a wide diversity of chromosome numbers and a complex genomic history. Hibiscus is ideal for exploring past genomic events because although two ancient genome duplication events have been identified, more are likely to be found due to its diversity of chromosome numbers. To reappraise the history of whole-genome duplication events in Hibiscus, we tested three alternative scenarios describing different polyploidization events.

RESULTS: Using target sequence capture, we designed a new probe set for Hibiscus and generated 87 orthologous genes from four diploid species. We detected paralogues in > 54% putative single-copy genes. 34 of these genes were selected for testing three different genome duplication scenarios using gene counting. All species of Hibiscus sampled shared one genome duplication with H. syriacus, and one whole genome duplication occurred along the branch leading to H. syriacus.

CONCLUSIONS: Here, we corroborated the independent genome doubling previously found in the lineage leading to H. syriacus and a shared genome doubling of this lineage and the remainder of Hibiscus. Additionally, we found a previously undiscovered genome duplication shared by the /Pavonia and /Malvaviscus clades (both nested within Hibiscus) with the occurrences of two copies in what were otherwise single-copy genes. Our results highlight the complexity of genomic diversity in some plant groups, which makes orthology assessment and accurate phylogenomic inference difficult.

RevDate: 2021-08-10
CmpDate: 2021-08-10

Senczuk G, Mastrangelo S, Ajmone-Marsan P, et al (2021)

On the origin and diversification of Podolian cattle breeds: testing scenarios of European colonization using genome-wide SNP data.

Genetics, selection, evolution : GSE, 53(1):48.

BACKGROUND: During the Neolithic expansion, cattle accompanied humans and spread from their domestication centres to colonize the ancient world. In addition, European cattle occasionally intermingled with both indicine cattle and local aurochs resulting in an exclusive pattern of genetic diversity. Among the most ancient European cattle are breeds that belong to the so-called Podolian trunk, the history of which is still not well established. Here, we used genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data on 806 individuals belonging to 36 breeds to reconstruct the origin and diversification of Podolian cattle and to provide a reliable scenario of the European colonization, through an approximate Bayesian computation random forest (ABC-RF) approach.

RESULTS: Our results indicate that European Podolian cattle display higher values of genetic diversity indices than both African taurine and Asian indicine breeds. Clustering analyses show that Podolian breeds share close genomic relationships, which suggests a likely common genetic ancestry. Among the simulated and tested scenarios of the colonization of Europe from taurine cattle, the greatest support was obtained for the model assuming at least two waves of diffusion. Time estimates are in line with an early migration from the domestication centre of non-Podolian taurine breeds followed by a secondary migration of Podolian breeds. The best fitting model also suggests that the Italian Podolian breeds are the result of admixture between different genomic pools.

CONCLUSIONS: This comprehensive dataset that includes most of the autochthonous cattle breeds belonging to the so-called Podolian trunk allowed us not only to shed light onto the origin and diversification of this group of cattle, but also to gain new insights into the diffusion of European cattle. The most well-supported scenario of colonization points to two main waves of migrations: with one that occurred alongside with the Neolithic human expansion and gave rise to the non-Podolian taurine breeds, and a more recent one that favoured the diffusion of European Podolian. In this process, we highlight the importance of both the Mediterranean and Danube routes in promoting European cattle colonization. Moreover, we identified admixture as a driver of diversification in Italy, which could represent a melting pot for Podolian cattle.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Mao X, Zhang H, Qiao S, et al (2021)

The deep population history of northern East Asia from the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene.

Cell, 184(12):3256-3266.e13.

Northern East Asia was inhabited by modern humans as early as 40 thousand years ago (ka), as demonstrated by the Tianyuan individual. Using genome-wide data obtained from 25 individuals dated to 33.6-3.4 ka from the Amur region, we show that Tianyuan-related ancestry was widespread in northern East Asia before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). At the close of the LGM stadial, the earliest northern East Asian appeared in the Amur region, and this population is basal to ancient northern East Asians. Human populations in the Amur region have maintained genetic continuity from 14 ka, and these early inhabitants represent the closest East Asian source known for Ancient Paleo-Siberians. We also observed that EDAR V370A was likely to have been elevated to high frequency after the LGM, suggesting the possible timing for its selection. This study provides a deep look into the population dynamics of northern East Asia.

RevDate: 2021-06-17

van Spelde AM, Schroeder H, Kjellström A, et al (2021)

Approaches to osteoporosis in paleopathology: How did methodology shape bone loss research?.

International journal of paleopathology, 33:245-257.

OBJECTIVE: This paper will review how different methods employed to study bone loss in the past were used to explore different questions and aspects of bone loss, how methodology has changed over time, and how these different approaches have informed our understanding of bone loss in the past.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A review and discussion is conducted on research protocols and results of 84 paleopathology publications on bone loss in archaeological skeletal collections published between 1969 and 2021.

CONCLUSIONS: The variety in research protocols confounds accurate meta-analysis of previously published research; however, more recent publications incorporate a combination of bone mass and bone quality based methods. Biased sample selection has resulted in a predominance of European and Medieval publications, limiting more general observations on bone loss in the past. Collection of dietary or paleopathological covariables is underemployed in the effort to interpret bone loss patterns.

SIGNIFICANCE: Paleopathology publications have demonstrated differences in bone loss between distinct archaeological populations, between sex and age groups, and have suggested factors underlying observed differences. However, a lack of a gold standard has encouraged the use of a wide range of methods. Understanding how this array of methods effects results is crucial in contextualizing our knowledge of bone loss in the past.

LIMITATIONS: The development of a research protocol is also influenced by available expertise, available equipment, restrictions imposed by the curator, and site-specific taphonomic aspects. These factors will likely continue to cause (minor) biases even if a best practice can be established.

Greater effort to develop uniform terminology and operational definitions of osteoporosis in skeletal remains, as well as the expansion of time scale and geographical areas studied. The Next-Generation Sequencing revolution has also opened up the possibility of ancient DNA analyses to study genetic predisposition to bone loss in the past.

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Gaeta R (2021)

Ancient DNA and paleogenetics: risks and potentiality.

Pathologica, 113(2):141-146.

Paleopathology, the science that studies the diseases of the past, has always been addressed to the future in the use of new diagnostic methods. One of its relatively recent branches is paleogenetics, which is the study of genetic material from the past. Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA recovered from archaeological and paleontological specimens is called ancient DNA (aDNA), which can be extracted from a large variety of biological materials, of different origin, state of preservation and age, such as bones, teeth, coprolites, mummified tissues and hairs. There are many applications for ancient DNA research in the field of archaeology and paleopathology: population demography, genealogy, disease studies, archaeological reconstruction of plant vegetation, calibration of the molecular clock, phylogenetic relationship between different mammals and interpretation of the paleoclimate. However, the study of ancient genetic material is extremely difficult due to its poor quality and quantity, as well possible contamination with modern DNA. New advanced methods will allow extracting DNA from a greater variety of materials, and improvements in sequencing techniques will unveil data that are currently concealed.

The aim of this paper is to provide initial insights into paleogenetics and ancient DNA study and to illustrate the limits, risks and potentiality of the research on the genetic material of ancient specimens, whose results have a strong impact on the present and future medicine.

RevDate: 2021-08-23

Yang S, K Ye (2021)

Recent advances in understanding the adaptive evolution of metabolic genes and traits.

Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 24(4):308-314.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review summarizes the recent advances in understanding the adaptive evolution of metabolic genes and traits, providing insights into gene-diet interactions in human evolution and health.

RECENT FINDINGS: The rapid accumulation of ancient DNA across time and geography illuminates unprecedented details of some well-established examples of genetic adaptation to diet, such as the LCT and FADS genes. Novel cases of thrifty genes were identified, especially a microRNA at the LCT locus that controls energy expenditure and glucose homeostasis, connecting the historical adaptation to present-day metabolic disorders. A new example of gene-diet-microbiota interactions was established among the AMY1 copy number, starchy diets, and resistant-starch-digesting Ruminococcus. The explosion of genome-wide association studies in large cohorts unravels the present-day health implications of historically adaptive genetic variants. It also enables studies into the polygenic adaptation of metabolic traits, revealing intriguing adaptive signals for increased bone mineral density, blood pressure, and risk of type 2 diabetes, but decreased body mass index and HbA1c.

SUMMARY: The rapid accumulation of ancient and modern DNA has fueled the characterization of novel and existing cases of genetic adaptation. However, transferring these evolutionary insights into genome-informed precision nutrition requires extensive mechanistic studies and genotype-aware clinical trials.

RevDate: 2021-07-03

Kuhlwilm M, Fontsere C, Han S, et al (2021)

HuConTest: Testing Human Contamination in Great Ape Samples.

Genome biology and evolution, 13(6):.

Modern human contamination is a common problem in ancient DNA studies. We provide evidence that this issue is also present in studies in great apes, which are our closest living relatives, for example in noninvasive samples. Here, we present a simple method to detect human contamination in short-read sequencing data from different species: HuConTest. We demonstrate its feasibility using blood and tissue samples from these species. This test is particularly useful for more complex samples (such as museum and noninvasive samples) which have smaller amounts of endogenous DNA, as we show here.

RevDate: 2021-07-23
CmpDate: 2021-06-25

Yu X, H Li (2021)

Origin of ethnic groups, linguistic families, and civilizations in China viewed from the Y chromosome.

Molecular genetics and genomics : MGG, 296(4):783-797.

East Asia, geographically extending to the Pamir Plateau in the west, to the Himalayan Mountains in the southwest, to Lake Baikal in the north and to the South China Sea in the south, harbors a variety of people, cultures, and languages. To reconstruct the natural history of East Asians is a mission of multiple disciplines, including genetics, archaeology, linguistics, and ethnology. Geneticists confirm the recent African origin of modern East Asians. Anatomically modern humans arose in Africa and immigrated into East Asia via a southern route approximately 50,000 years ago. Following the end of the Last Glacial Maximum approximately 12,000 years ago, rice and millet were domesticated in the south and north of East Asia, respectively, which allowed human populations to expand and linguistic families and ethnic groups to develop. These Neolithic populations produced a strong relation between the present genetic structures and linguistic families. The expansion of the Hongshan people from northeastern China relocated most of the ethnic populations on a large scale approximately 5300 years ago. Most of the ethnic groups migrated to remote regions, producing genetic structure differences between the edge and center of East Asia. In central China, pronounced population admixture occurred and accelerated over time, which subsequently formed the Han Chinese population and eventually the Chinese civilization. Population migration between the north and the south throughout history has left a smooth gradient in north-south changes in genetic structure. Observation of the process of shaping the genetic structure of East Asians may help in understanding the global natural history of modern humans.

RevDate: 2021-06-17

Straube N, Lyra ML, Paijmans JLA, et al (2021)

Successful application of ancient DNA extraction and library construction protocols to museum wet collection specimens.

Molecular ecology resources [Epub ahead of print].

Millions of scientific specimens are housed in museum collections, a large part of which are fluid preserved. The use of formaldehyde as fixative and subsequent storage in ethanol is especially common in ichthyology and herpetology. This type of preservation damages DNA and reduces the chance of successful retrieval of genetic data. We applied ancient DNA extraction and single stranded library construction protocols to a variety of vertebrate samples obtained from wet collections and of different ages. Our results show that almost all samples tested yielded endogenous DNA. Archival DNA extraction was successful across different tissue types as well as using small amounts of tissue. Conversion of archival DNA fragments into single-stranded libraries resulted in usable data even for samples with initially undetectable DNA amounts. Subsequent target capture approaches for mitochondrial DNA using homemade baits on a subset of 30 samples resulted in almost complete mitochondrial genome sequences in several instances. Thus, application of ancient DNA methodology makes wet collection specimens, including type material as well as rare, old or extinct species, accessible for genetic and genomic analyses. Our results, accompanied by detailed step-by-step protocols, are a large step forward to open the DNA archive of museum wet collections for scientific studies.

RevDate: 2021-07-09
CmpDate: 2021-07-09

Brooks SA (2021)

Genomics in the Horse Industry: Discovering New Questions at Every Turn.

Journal of equine veterinary science, 100:103456.

The sheer diversity of heritable physiological traits, and the ingenuity of genome derived research technologies, extends the study of genetics to impact diverse scientific fields. Equine science is no exception, experiencing a number of genome-enabled discoveries that spur further research in areas like nutrition, reproduction, and exercise physiology. Yet unexpected findings, especially those that over-turn commonly held beliefs in the horse industry, can create challenges in outreach, education and communication with stakeholders. For example, studies of ancient DNA revealed that the oldest domesticated equids in the archeological record were in fact another species, the Przewalski's horse, leaving the origins of our modern horses a mystery yet to be solved. Genomic analysis of ancestry can illuminate relationships older than our prized pedigree records, and in some cases, identify unexpected inconsistencies in those pedigrees. Even our interpretation of what constitutes a genetic disease is changing, as we re-examine common disease alleles; how these alleles impact equine physiology, and how they are perceived by breeders and professionals in the industry. Effectively translating genetic tools for utilization in horse management and preparing our community for the debate surrounding ethical questions that may arise from genomic studies, may be the next great challenges we face as scientists and educators.

RevDate: 2021-06-04
CmpDate: 2021-06-01

Liu S, Kruse S, Scherler D, et al (2021)

Sedimentary ancient DNA reveals a threat of warming-induced alpine habitat loss to Tibetan Plateau plant diversity.

Nature communications, 12(1):2995.

Studies along elevational gradients worldwide usually find the highest plant taxa richness in mid-elevation forest belts. Hence, an increase in upper elevation diversity is expected in the course of warming-related treeline rise. Here, we use a time-series approach to infer past taxa richness from sedimentary ancient DNA from the south-eastern Tibetan Plateau over the last ~18,000 years. We find the highest total plant taxa richness during the cool phase after glacier retreat when the area contained extensive and diverse alpine habitats (14-10 ka); followed by a decline when forests expanded during the warm early- to mid-Holocene (10-3.6 ka). Livestock grazing since 3.6 ka promoted plant taxa richness only weakly. Based on these inferred dependencies, our simulation yields a substantive decrease in plant taxa richness in response to warming-related alpine habitat loss over the next centuries. Accordingly, efforts of Tibetan biodiversity conservation should include conclusions from palaeoecological evidence.

RevDate: 2021-05-18

Haller M, Callan K, Susat J, et al (2021)

Mass burial genomics reveals outbreak of enteric paratyphoid fever in the Late Medieval trade city Lübeck.

iScience, 24(5):102419.

Medieval Europe was repeatedly affected by outbreaks of infectious diseases, some of which reached epidemic proportions. A Late Medieval mass burial next to the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital in Lübeck (present-day Germany) contained the skeletal remains of more than 800 individuals who had presumably died from infectious disease. From 92 individuals, we screened the ancient DNA extracts for the presence of pathogens to determine the cause of death. Metagenomic analysis revealed evidence of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Paratyphi C, suggesting an outbreak of enteric paratyphoid fever. Three reconstructed S. Paratyphi C genomes showed close similarity to a strain from Norway (1200 CE). Radiocarbon dates placed the disease outbreak in Lübeck between 1270 and 1400 cal CE, with historical records indicating 1367 CE as the most probable year. The deceased were of northern and eastern European descent, confirming Lübeck as an important trading center of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic region.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Kerner G, Patin E, L Quintana-Murci (2021)

New insights into human immunity from ancient genomics.

Current opinion in immunology, 72:116-125 pii:S0952-7915(21)00045-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Population genetic studies have clearly indicated that immunity and host defense are among the functions most frequently subject to natural selection, and increased our understanding of the biological relevance of the corresponding genes and their contribution to variable immune traits and diseases. Herein, we will focus on some recently studied forms of human adaptation to infectious agents, including hybridization with now-extinct hominins, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, and admixture between modern human populations. These studies, which are partly enabled by the technological advances in the sequencing of DNA from ancient remains, provide new insight into the sources of immune response variation in contemporary humans, such as the recently reported link between Neanderthal heritage and susceptibility to severe COVID-19 disease. Furthermore, ancient DNA analyses, in both humans and pathogens, allow to measure the action of natural selection on immune genes across time and to reconstruct the impact of past epidemics on the evolution of human immunity.

RevDate: 2021-08-02

Toussaint EFA, Gauthier J, Bilat J, et al (2021)

HyRAD-X Exome Capture Museomics Unravels Giant Ground Beetle Evolution.

Genome biology and evolution, 13(7):.

Advances in phylogenomics contribute toward resolving long-standing evolutionary questions. Notwithstanding, genetic diversity contained within more than a billion biological specimens deposited in natural history museums remains recalcitrant to analysis owing to challenges posed by its intrinsically degraded nature. Yet that tantalizing resource could be critical in overcoming taxon sampling constraints hindering our ability to address major evolutionary questions. We addressed this impediment by developing phyloHyRAD, a new bioinformatic pipeline enabling locus recovery at a broad evolutionary scale from HyRAD-X exome capture of museum specimens of low DNA integrity using a benchtop RAD-derived exome-complexity-reduction probe set developed from high DNA integrity specimens. Our new pipeline can also successfully align raw RNAseq transcriptomic and ultraconserved element reads with the RAD-derived probe catalog. Using this method, we generated a robust timetree for Carabinae beetles, the lack of which had precluded study of macroevolutionary trends pertaining to their biogeography and wing-morphology evolution. We successfully recovered up to 2,945 loci with a mean of 1,788 loci across the exome of specimens of varying age. Coverage was not significantly linked to specimen age, demonstrating the wide exploitability of museum specimens. We also recovered fragmentary mitogenomes compatible with Sanger-sequenced mtDNA. Our phylogenomic timetree revealed a Lower Cretaceous origin for crown group Carabinae, with the extinct Aplothorax Waterhouse, 1841 nested within the genus Calosoma Weber, 1801 demonstrating the junior synonymy of Aplothorax syn. nov., resulting in the new combination Calosomaburchellii (Waterhouse, 1841) comb. nov. This study compellingly illustrates that HyRAD-X and phyloHyRAD efficiently provide genomic-level data sets informative at deep evolutionary scales.

RevDate: 2021-05-16

Prakash A, M Banerjee (2021)

Genomic selection signatures in autism spectrum disorder identifies cognitive genomic tradeoff and its relevance in paradoxical phenotypes of deficits versus potentialities.

Scientific reports, 11(1):10245.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by paradoxical phenotypes of deficits as well as gain in brain function. To address this a genomic tradeoff hypothesis was tested and followed up with the biological interaction and evolutionary significance of positively selected ASD risk genes. SFARI database was used to retrieve the ASD risk genes while for population datasets 1000 genome data was used. Common risk SNPs were subjected to machine learning as well as independent tests for selection, followed by Bayesian analysis to identify the cumulative effect of selection on risk SNPs. Functional implication of these positively selected risk SNPs was assessed and subjected to ontology analysis, pertaining to their interaction and enrichment of biological and cellular functions. This was followed by comparative analysis with the ancient genomes to identify their evolutionary patterns. Our results identified significant positive selection signals in 18 ASD risk SNPs. Functional and ontology analysis indicate the role of biological and cellular processes associated with various brain functions. The core of the biological interaction network constitutes genes for cognition and learning while genes in the periphery of the network had direct or indirect impact on brain function. Ancient genome analysis identified de novo and conserved evolutionary selection clusters. The de-novo evolutionary cluster represented genes involved in cognitive function. Relative enrichment of the ASD risk SNPs from the respective evolutionary cluster or biological interaction networks may help in addressing the phenotypic diversity in ASD. This cognitive genomic tradeoff signatures impacting the biological networks can explain the paradoxical phenotypes in ASD.

RevDate: 2021-05-25
CmpDate: 2021-05-25

Curry A (2021)

Ancient poop reveals extinction in gut bacteria.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 372(6543):671.

RevDate: 2021-05-26
CmpDate: 2021-05-20

Rey-Iglesia A, Lister AM, Campos PF, et al (2021)

Exploring the phylogeography and population dynamics of the giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus) using Late Quaternary mitogenomes.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1950):20201864.

Late Quaternary climatic fluctuations in the Northern Hemisphere had drastic effects on large mammal species, leading to the extinction of a substantial number of them. The giant deer (Megaloceros giganteus) was one of the species that became extinct in the Holocene, around 7660 calendar years before present. In the Late Pleistocene, the species ranged from western Europe to central Asia. However, during the Holocene, its range contracted to eastern Europe and western Siberia, where the last populations of the species occurred. Here, we generated 35 Late Pleistocene and Holocene giant deer mitogenomes to explore the genetics of the demise of this iconic species. Bayesian phylogenetic analyses of the mitogenomes suggested five main clades for the species: three pre-Last Glacial Maximum clades that did not appear in the post-Last Glacial Maximum genetic pool, and two clades that showed continuity into the Holocene. Our study also identified a decrease in genetic diversity starting in Marine Isotope Stage 3 and accelerating during the Last Glacial Maximum. This reduction in genetic diversity during the Last Glacial Maximum, coupled with a major contraction of fossil occurrences, suggests that climate was a major driver in the dynamics of the giant deer.

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Roesti M (2021)

Evolution: Predictability and the promise of ancient DNA.

Current biology : CB, 31(9):R446-R448.

Is evolution predictable? Genomes from thousands-of-years-old stickleback suggest that, despite substantial stochasticity in the course of evolution, our understanding of the recent evolutionary past of this species was generally valid.

RevDate: 2021-06-23

Saupe T, Montinaro F, Scaggion C, et al (2021)

Ancient genomes reveal structural shifts after the arrival of Steppe-related ancestry in the Italian Peninsula.

Current biology : CB, 31(12):2576-2591.e12.

Across Europe, the genetics of the Chalcolithic/Bronze Age transition is increasingly characterized in terms of an influx of Steppe-related ancestry. The effect of this major shift on the genetic structure of populations in the Italian Peninsula remains underexplored. Here, genome-wide shotgun data for 22 individuals from commingled cave and single burials in Northeastern and Central Italy dated between 3200 and 1500 BCE provide the first genomic characterization of Bronze Age individuals (n = 8; 0.001-1.2× coverage) from the central Italian Peninsula, filling a gap in the literature between 1950 and 1500 BCE. Our study confirms a diversity of ancestry components during the Chalcolithic and the arrival of Steppe-related ancestry in the central Italian Peninsula as early as 1600 BCE, with this ancestry component increasing through time. We detect close patrilineal kinship in the burial patterns of Chalcolithic commingled cave burials and a shift away from this in the Bronze Age (2200-900 BCE) along with lowered runs of homozygosity, which may reflect larger changes in population structure. Finally, we find no evidence that the arrival of Steppe-related ancestry in Central Italy directly led to changes in frequency of 115 phenotypes present in the dataset, rather that the post-Roman Imperial period had a stronger influence, particularly on the frequency of variants associated with protection against Hansen's disease (leprosy). Our study provides a closer look at local dynamics of demography and phenotypic shifts as they occurred as part of a broader phenomenon of widespread admixture during the Chalcolithic/Bronze Age transition.

RevDate: 2021-06-17

Maixner F, Gresky J, A Zink (2021)

Ancient DNA analysis of rare genetic bone disorders.

International journal of paleopathology, 33:182-187.

OBJECTIVE: Review of the current advancements in the field of paleogenetics that provide new opportunities in studying the evolution of rare genetic bone diseases.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Based on cases from the literature, the genetics of rare bone diseases will be introduced and the main methodological issues will be addressed, focusing on the opportunities presented by the application of aDNA analyses in the field of paleopathology.

RESULTS: Medical literature provides large datasets on the genes responsible for rare bone disorders. These genes, subdivided in functional categories, display important future targets when analyzing rare genetic bone disorders in ancient human remains.

CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge on both phenotype and genotype is required to study rare diseases in ancient human remains.

SIGNIFICANCE: The proposed interdisciplinary research will provide new insight into the occurrence and spread of genetic risk factors in the past and will help in the diagnostics of these rare and often neglected diseases.

LIMITATIONS: The current limitations in ancient DNA research and targeting the disease-causing specific mutations (e.g., somatic or germline).

Methodological advancements and candidate gene lists provide the optimal basis for future interdisciplinary studies of rare genetic bone disorders in ancient human remains.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
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Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).


ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )