DNA evidence reveals diverse origins of first farmers

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Researchers compared the genomes of ancient Neolithic skeletons from across the Middle East, where farming began.

The results shed light on a debate over whether farming spread out from a single source in the region, or whether multiple farmer groups spread their technology across Eurasia.

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Analysis of DNA…has established that farming spread via the mass migration of people, rather than [an] adoption of new ideas by indigenous populations.

“Probably the biggest surprise news about this study is just how genetically different the eastern and western Fertile Crescent early farmers were,” said co-author Mark Thomas[.]

Co-author Dr Garrett Hellenthal…commented: “It had been widely assumed that these first farmers were from a single, genetically homogeneous population. However, we’ve found that there were deep genetic differences in these early farming populations, indicating very distinct ancestries.”

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This reveals the scale of genetic change in the Fertile Crescent since the Neolithic. After the invention of agriculture, divergent groups of Middle Eastern farmers mixed thoroughly, and the region received genetic inputs from populations residing in surrounding areas.

Read full, original post: First farmers had diverse origins, DNA shows

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