The future of the Reich Lab’s studies and interpretations of Late Indo-European migrations


Short report on advances in Genomics, and on the Reich Lab:

Some interesting details:

  • The Lab is impressive. I would never dream of having something like this at our university. I am really jealous of that working environment.
  • They are currently working on population transformations in Italy; I hope we can have at last Italic and Etruscan samples.
  • It is always worth it to repeat that we are all the source of multiple admixture events, many of them quite recent; and I liked the Star Wars simile.
  • Also, some names hinting at potential new samples?? Zajo-I, Chanchan, Gurulde?, Володарка
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David Reich on social inequality and Yamna expansion with few Y-DNA subclades

Interesting article from David Reich that I had missed, at Nautilus, Social Inequality Leaves a Genetic Mark.

It explores one of the main issues we are observing with ancient DNA, the greater reduction in Y-DNA lineages relative to mtDNA lineages, and its most likely explanation (which I discussed recently).

Excerpts interesting for the Indo-European question (emphasis mine):

Gimbutas’s reconstruction has been criticized as fantastical by her critics, and any attempt to paint a vivid picture of what a human culture was like before the period of written texts needs to be viewed with caution. Nevertheless, ancient DNA data

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David Reich on the influence of ancient DNA on Archaeology and Linguistics

An interesting interview has appeared on The Atlantic, Ancient DNA Is Rewriting Human (and Neanderthal) History, on the occasion of the publication of David Reich’s book Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.

Some interesting excerpts (I have emphasized some of Reich’s words):

On the efficiency of the Reich Lab

Zhang: How much does it cost to process an ancient DNA sample right now?

Reich: In our hands, a successful sample costs less than $200. That’s only two or three times more than processing them

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mtDNA, lactase persistence, and admixr for ADMIXTOOLS


The following are some recent developments and updates:

I. Ancient DNA Dataset version 2

I.1. Accurate mtDNA haplogroups

I was meaning to update the mtDNA part of the Ancient DNA Dataset, and finally found some time to review FTDNA and YFull nomenclature (including hyperlinks), as well as those SNP calls from published samples found in YFull’s MTree. So, if you are interested in studies of mtDNA phylogeography, I think the data is now accurate and much more useful.

Given the number of columns and the size of the files, I have decided to post shorter standard versions, by … Read the rest “mtDNA, lactase persistence, and admixr for ADMIXTOOLS”

Survival of hunter-gatherer ancestry in West-Central European Neolithic


Recent papers on France and neighbouring regions, Ancient genome-wide DNA from France highlights the complexity of interactions between Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers, by Rivollat et al. Science Advances (2020) 6(22), and Ancient genomes from present-day France unveil 7,000 years of its demographic history, by Brunel et al. PNAS (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

I. Survival of HG ancestry in Central Europe

From Rivollat et al. (2020):

Here, we present newly typed genome-wide data from 101 individuals from 12 sites from modern-day France and Germany (3 Late Mesolithic and 98 Neolithic, 7000–3000 cal BCE (…)

We explored

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qpAdm best practices and common pitfalls


The recently published preprint Assessing the Performance of qpAdm, by Harney, Patterson, Reich, & Wakeley at bioRxiv (2020) offers some interesting clues about what previous papers using qpAdm might have done right, and – more importantly – what they might have done wrong.

Since it doesn’t make much sense to repeat what this open access paper says within quotes, I will try to use short sentences or rework them to sum it up, illustrating best practices and common pitfalls with what I believe are corresponding examples with Steppe-related populations to date, with an emphasis on Bell Beakers. Most … Read the rest “qpAdm best practices and common pitfalls”

Yamnaya-like Chemurchek links Afanasievo with Iron Age Tocharians


New preprint by the Jena-Reich labs, The Genomic Formation of Human Populations in East Asia, by Wang et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Mongolia Neolithic cluster

The three most ancient individuals of the Mongolia ‘East’ cluster are from the Kherlen River region of eastern Mongolia (Tamsag-Bulag culture) and date to 6000-4300 BCE (this places them in the Early Neolithic period, which in Northeast Asia is defined by the use of pottery and not by agriculture). These individuals are genetically similar to previously reported Neolithic individuals from the cis-Baikal region and have minimal evidence of West Eurasian-related admixture

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Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians


The genotypes from Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, by Sirak et al. Genome Res. (2020), have been finally published by the Reich Lab, so we can get a sneak peek into what’s coming in future papers about the origins of R1a-rich Proto-Corded Ware and R1b-rich Italo-Venetic peoples.

NOTE. To avoid adding potential errors, I have merged the Reich Lab’s Curated Dataset (v. 42.4, March 1 2020) with these new samples before performing the qpAdm analyses. If you find something different with your files, you should probably check out this simple setting first. Read the rest “Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians”