An axe-age, a sword-age

“Genetic differentiation between Early and Middle Neolithic populations was significant (FST∼0.13, P < 10−5), suggesting that genetic drift played an important role at this time.”





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9 Responses to An axe-age, a sword-age

  1. Gorbachev says:

    Yes. It was… genetic drift.

  2. Leonard says:

    Occam’s butterknife strikes again!

  3. jb says:

    Genetic drift. Selection. Replacement.

    Is that the full set of logical possibilities, or are there others — however obscure and unlikely — that I’m not aware of?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Mighty obscure and unlikely, but in principle really advanced biologists could engineer a kind of retrovirus that infiltrated mitochondria and made changes in mtDNA. Since mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own DNA and DNA replication enzymes, in principle some virus could hijack their replication ability, just as conventional viruses hijack the DNA replication ability of the cell’s nucleus. This occurred to me a long time ago, but the first example didn’t show up for years. The only mitovirus I know of infects the mitochondria of the fungus causing Dutch Elm disease.

  4. dearieme says:

    Need replacement be by the sword? Wasn’t the replacement of Red Indians largely by the micro-organism?

    • gcochran9 says:

      I would guess that infectious disease may have been important, but probably less so than it was in the European conquest of the Americas, where people isolated from the Old World for something like 15,000 years were suddenly confronted with the full spectrum of African and Eurasian infectious agents. In the early Neolithic, there weren’t as many crowd diseases, and the Olde Europeans probably weren’t as isolated as Amerindians.

  5. Sean says:

    As I understand it this is mtDNA data. mtDNA is not shuffled in sexual reproduction while being passed down right?. But it is variable. Now is this tendency for mtDNA to so called drift a co-incidence or has it evolved to produce randome variability for selection to act on in order generate winning combinations to cope with new challenges (as I read somewhere)?

    mtDNA might look like it is not being subject to natural selection but remember it is handed down differently to other DNA and the variability in it is produced differently.

  6. Sean says:

    And it can hitchhike :”THE maternally inherited genome can comprise symbiotic bacteria that pass from a female to her progeny, “

  7. TWS says:

    Good analysis and very pithy. I am wondering if the Y genes were changed more than the X. Meaning, did the invaders bring mom, wives, and daughters, or did they just grab women from the local population after they, ‘genetically drifted’ them out of existence?

    Better question, since this was after the fall of Atlantis was it during the ‘rise of the Sons of Aryus’?

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