Agriculture Agriculture 8500 years ago did more than change the way people lived

Agriculture 8500 years ago did more than change the way people lived

International research involving the University of Adelaide shows that the introduction of agriculture in Europe about 8500 years ago not only changed the way people lived, but also left traces in their DNA.

The researchers show the direct results of adaption to changing diets, environments, disease-causing organisms, social organisation on the DNA of ancient European farmers. They document the results of selection on specific locations on DNA related to milk digestion, pigmentation and disease immunity.

Indirect evidence of this adaption can be detected in the patterns of genetic variation in today’s populations, but modern genomes are just ‘echoes of the past’ and cannot be directly connected to specific events. However now, they report, the study of ancient human DNA makes it possible to watch how natural selection happened in real-time.

Although studied before, this work with ancient DNA has enriched our understanding of those traits and when they appeared.

[img source] Monica Arellano-Ongpin (CCA2.0).

Read more here: University of Adelaide