Homo sapiens in Europe – the history written in DNA

Ireneusz Stolarek, Marek Figlerowicz

Abstract


Archeogenomics is a relatively new discipline of science that uses achievements of molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics to learn more on the history of living organisms by analyzing their genomes. Recent technological advances in DNA recovery from archaeological remains (i.e. ancient DNA isolation) and in high-throughput DNA sequencing revolutionized the studies of the human past. Here, we review the genetic history of mankind since its origins in Africa, and present complex processes of migration, population subdivision and admixture events between modern and archaic forms of Homo sapiens. In this paper, we pay particular attention to the genetic history of Europe. The latter covers the last 50,000 years and can be divided into five main episodes: the pioneer colonization in the Upper Paleolithic, the late and post glacial re-colonization of the continent after the Last Glacial Maximum, the arrival of Near Easterners during Neolithic period, and the influx of new genetic components through small-scale migrations that began in the Copper Age. Considering the progress currently observed in this field one can expect that in the nearest future archeogenomics will further improve our understanding of the processes that in the past shaped human population on a global scale.


Keywords


Homo sapiens; aDNA; Europe; AMH migrations

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