Soares, Pedro, Achilli, Alessandro, Semino, Ornella, Davies, William, Macaulay, Vincent, Bandelt, Hans-Juergen, Torroni, Antonio and Richards, Martin B.
The archaeogenetics of Europe.
Current Biology, 20, (4), . (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.054).
A new timescale has recently been established for human
mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages, making mtDNA at
present the most informative genetic marker system for
studying European prehistory. Here, we review the new
chronology and compare mtDNA with Y-chromosome
patterns, in order to summarize what we have learnt from
archaeogenetics concerning five episodes over the past
50,000 years which significantly contributed to the settlement history of Europe: the pioneer colonisation of the Upper Palaeolithic, the Late Glacial re-colonisation of the continent from southern refugia after the Last Glacial Maximum, the postglacial re-colonization of deserted areas after the Younger Dryas cold snap, the arrival of Near Easterners with an incipient Neolithic package, and the small-scale migrations along continent-wide economic exchange networks beginning with the Copper
Age. The available data from uniparental genetic systems
have already transformed our view of the prehistory of
Europe, but our knowledge of these processes remains
limited. Nevertheless, their legacy remains as sedimentary
layers in the gene pool of modern Europeans, and our
understanding of them will improve substantially when
more mtDNAs are completely sequenced, the Y chromosome
more thoroughly analysed, and haplotype blocks of
the autosomal genome become amenable to phylogeographic
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