We report genome-wide ancient DNA from 44 ancient Near Easterners ranging in time between ~12,000 and 1,400 bc, from Natufian hunter–gatherers to Bronze Age farmers. We show that the earliest populations of the Near East derived around half their ancestry from a ‘Basal Eurasian’ lineage that had little if any Neanderthal admixture and that separated from other non-African lineages before their separation from each other. The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter–gatherers. By the time of the Bronze Age, these two populations and Anatolian-related farmers had mixed with each other and with the hunter–gatherers of Europe to greatly reduce genetic differentiation. The impact of the Near Eastern farmers extended beyond the Near East: farmers related to those of Anatolia spread westward into Europe; farmers related to those of the Levant spread southward into East Africa; farmers related to those of Iran spread northward into the Eurasian steppe; and people related to both the early farmers of Iran and to the pastoralists of the Eurasian steppe spread eastward into South Asia.
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European Nucleotide Archive
The aligned sequences are available through the European Nucleotide Archive under accession number PRJEB14455. Fully public subsets of the analysis datasets are at http://genetics.med.harvard.edu/reichlab/Reich_Lab/Datasets.html. The complete dataset (including present-day humans for which the informed consent is not consistent with public posting of data) is available to researchers who send a signed letter to D.R. indicating that they will abide by specified usage conditions (Supplementary Information, section 2).
We thank the 238 human subjects who donated samples for genome-wide analysis, and D. Labuda and P. Zalloua for sharing samples from Poland and Lebanon. The Fig. 1a map was plotted in R using the worldHiRes map of the ‘mapdata’ package (using public domain data from the CIA World Data Bank II). We thank O. Bar-Yosef, M. Bonogofsky, I. Hershkowitz, M. Lipson, I. Mathieson, H. May, R. Meadow, I. Olalde, S. Paabo, P. Skoglund, and N. Nakatsuka for comments and critiques, and D. Bradley, M. Dallakyan, S. Esoyan, M. Ferry and M. Michel, and A. Yesayan, for contributions to bone preparation and ancient DNA work. D.F. and M.N. were supported by Irish Research Council grants GOIPG/2013/36 and GOIPD/2013/1, respectively. S.C. was funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) ERC Support Programme. Q.F. was funded by the Bureau of International Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (L1524016) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Discipline Development Strategy Project (2015-DX-C-03). The Scottish diversity data was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates (CZD/16/6), the Scottish Funding Council (HR03006), and a project grant from the Scottish Executive Health Department, Chief Scientist Office (CZB/4/285). M.S., A.Tön., M.B. and P.K. were supported by the German Research Foundation (CRC 1052; B01, B03, C01). M.S.-P. was funded by a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork grant (9005), and by the National Science Foundation DDRIG (BCS-1455744). P.K. was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (FKZ: 01EO1501). J.F.W. acknowledge the MRC ‘QTL in Health and Disease’ programme grant. The Romanian diversity data was supported by the EC Commission, Directorate General XII (Supplementary Agreement ERBCIPDCT 940038 to the Contract ERBCHRXCT 920032, coordinated by A. Piazza, Turin, Italy). M.R. received support from the Leverhulme Trust’s Doctoral Scholarship programme. O.S. and A.Tor. were supported by the University of Pavia (MIGRAT-IN-G) and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research: Progetti Ricerca Interesse Nazionale 2012. The Raqefet Cave Natufian project was supported by funds from the National Geographic Society (grant 8915-11), the Wenner-Gren Foundation (grant 7481) and the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation, while radiocarbon dating on the samples was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (grant 475/10; E. Boaretto). R.P. was supported by ERC starting grant ADNABIOARC (263441). D.R. was supported by NIH grant GM100233, by NSF HOMINID BCS-1032255, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Extended data figures
Extended data tables
This file contains Supplementary Text, Data and References – see contents page for details.