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Palaeogenetics

First ancient African genome

A 4,500-year-old human skeleton from a cave in Ethiopia has produced Africa's first ancient genome sequence.

Marcos Gallego Llorente at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues sequenced genomic DNA from one of the bones and compared it with sequences from modern Africans and Eurasians, as well as ancient Europeans. They conclude that the ancestors of modern Ethiopian highlanders were related to early farmers who moved into Europe from western Eurasia around 9,000 years ago. Descendants of these people later moved back to Africa around 3,000 years ago.

Most Africans today have 4–7% Eurasian ancestry because of this migration, suggesting that this event was larger and more significant than was thought.

Science http://doi.org/78d (2015)

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First ancient African genome. Nature 526, 296 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/526296d

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