Open access Emergence and Spread of Basal Lineages of Yersinia pestis during the Neolithic Decline, by Rascovan et al. Cell (2018)
Abstract (emphasis mine):
Between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, many Neolithic societies declined throughout western Eurasia due to a combination of factors that are still largely debated. Here, we report the discovery and genome reconstruction of Yersinia pestis, the etiological agent of plague, in Neolithic farmers in Sweden, pre-dating and basal to all modern and ancient known strains of this pathogen. We investigated the history of this strain by combining phylogenetic and molecular clock analyses of the bacterial
… Read the rest “Spread of Y. pestis, earlier than previously thought, may have caused Neolithic decline”
New paper (behind paywall) Estimating the age of p.(Phe508del) with family studies of geographically distinct European populations and the early spread of cystic fibrosis, by Farrell et al., European Journal of Human Genetics (2018).
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
Our results revealed tMRCA average values ranging from 4725 to 1175 years ago and support the estimates of Serre et al. (3000–6000 years ago) , rather than Morral et al. (52,000 years ago) , but the latter figure was challenged by Kaplan et al.  because of disagreement with assumptions used in their calculations. In addition, the tMRCA values from western
… Read the rest “Cystic fibrosis probably spread with expanding Bell Beakers”
Investigating the kinship between individuals deposited in exceptional Merovingian multiple burials through aDNA analysis: The case of Hérange burial 41 (Northeast France), by Deguilloux et al. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (2018) 20:784-790.
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
The Merovingian period in Northeast France (developing from 440/450 to 700/710 CE; Legoux et al., 2004) represents [a case of multiple burial], where a large majority of the types of deposits encountered consists of individual burials. In this context, whereas hundreds of individual burials are known, the syntheses recently conducted have enabled the inventory of only six multiple burials (Lefebvre and Lafosse,
… Read the rest “Mitogenomes from the middle of the Merovingian period in the Lorraine region”
New open access paper from the Max Planck Institute: Analysis of 3800-year-old Yersinia pestis genomes suggests Bronze Age origin for bubonic plague, by Spyrou et al., Nature Communications (2018) 9:2234.
Interesting excerpts from the paper and supplementary materials (emphasis mine):
Here, we analyse material from the Mikhailovsky II burial site, which was excavated in 2015 and is one of numerous kurgan cemeteries identified in the Samara Oblast. It consists of seven kurgan burials, and is chronologically associated to the ‘Pokrovka’ phase (3,900-3,750 BP) of the ‘Srubnaya’ culture (3,850-3,150 BP) (radiocarbon dates produced in this study provided in Supplementary Table
… Read the rest “Oldest bubonic plague genome decoded in Srubna ca. 3800 YBP”
Article of general knowledge in Der Spiegel, Invasion from the Steppe, with comments from Willerslev and Kristiansen, appeared roughly at the same time as the Damgaard et al. Nature (2018) and Science (2018) papers were published.
NOTE. You can read the article (in German) from Kristiansen’s Academia.edu account.
Excerpts translated from German (emphasis mine):
On the Y-DNA data
Particularly striking is the genetic signature from the steppe on the Y chromosome. From this the researchers conclude that the majority of migrants were males. Kristian Kristiansen, chief archaeologist in the Willerslev team, also has an idea of
… Read the rest “Copenhagen group: Germanic and Balto-Slavic from Bell Beaker; Indo-Anatolian homeland in the Caucasus”
Open access Ancient DNA study reveals HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans, by Krause-Kyora et al., Nature Communications (2018)
Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), was very common in Europe till the 16th century. Here, we perform an ancient DNA study on medieval skeletons from Denmark that show lesions specific for lepromatous leprosy (LL). First, we test the remains for M. leprae DNA to confirm the infection status of the individuals and to assess the bacterial diversity. We assemble 10 complete M. leprae genomes that all differ from each other. Second,
… Read the rest “Ancient DNA study reveals HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans”
New paper (behind paywall) Family graves? The genetics of collective burials in early medieval southern Germany on trial, by Rott. Päffgen, Haas-Gebhard, Peters, & Harbecka, J Arch Sci (2018) 92: 103–115.
Simultaneous collective burials appear quite regularly in early medieval linear cemeteries. Despite their relatively regular occurrence, they are seen as extraordinary as the interred individuals’ right to be buried in a single grave was ignored for certain reasons. Here, we present a study examining the possible familial relationship of early medieval individuals buried in this way by using aDNA analysis of mitochondrial HVR-I, Y-STRs, and autosomal miniSTRs.
… Read the rest “Mixed haplogroups R1a, R1b, I, in collective burials of early Medieval Bavarians”