The Mamas and the Papas

A new paper in Science (Brandt et al) talks about genetic changes in European prehistory, mainly by looking at mitochondrial DNA.  They do this because mtDNA is easier to recover  and sequence than Y-chromosome or autosomal DNA.  The most complete story must, however,  lie in the autosomal data.

Generally speaking, conquerors seem more likely to incorporate women into their society than men, so the story you get from looking at mtDNA is not going to be the same as that deduced from Y-chromosomes.  If it looks as if early farmers  from the Impressed Ware and Cardial cultures  account for ~30% of European DNA today – judging from mtDNA – the autosomal fraction is likely to be significantly lower than that.  The same is probably true for Mesolithic DNA in Europeans – ancestry estimates based on mtDNA are likely to be on the high side.


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5 Responses to The Mamas and the Papas

  1. Richard Sharpe says:

    Religiosity and reproductive strategies

    What predicts religiosity? A multinational analysis of reproductive and cooperative morals

  2. Yudi says:

    Speaking of ancient DNA, has anyone bought Jean Manco’s new book “Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe”? I’m slowly working my way through it and it seems fairly good, although I was unhappy that she seemed to discount the Neandertals. Does anyone else have any thoughts?

  3. the international association of romans, conquestidors, pioneers, mongols, moghuls, nazis and God when in his old testament moods says:

    Doc Cochran or Harpending do you know of any good books or articles about how cultural exchange became fashionable and population replacement shunned in the social sciences as an explanation for prehistoric cultural changes.

  4. TWS says:

    I think I recently read that Scandinavians had more neolithic hunter-gather dna. Would the odds be that it was mostly from the maternal line?

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