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Jan 19, 2010

80 Percent of European Men Descended From 1st Farmers Who Migrated From Near East 10,000 Years Ago

A research article published on 19 January 2012 in PLoS Biology by scientists at the University of Leicester concludes that the majority of European men descend from Stone Age farmers who migrated to Europe from the Middle East approximately 10,000 years ago.  Research for this study was funded by the Wellcome Trust.


In order to reach this conclusion that the majority of European men descend from migrating Middle Eastern farmers, researchers analyzed the diversity of the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son.   This is "the commonest Y-chromosome lineage in Europe, carried by about 110 million men -- it follows a gradient from south-east to north-west, reaching almost 100% frequency in Ireland. We looked at how the lineage is distributed, how diverse it is in different parts of Europe, and how old it is."  


According to co-author Dr Patricia Balaresque, "more than 80% of European Y chromosomes descend from incoming farmers. In contrast, most maternal genetic lineages seem to descend from hunter-gatherers. To us, this suggests a reproductive advantage for farming males over indigenous hunter-gatherer males during the switch from hunting and gathering, to farming -- maybe, back then, it was just sexier to be a farmer."

For more see:

"Most Modern European Males Descend from Farmers Who Migrated from the Near East," ScienceDaily, 19 January 2010.

About Margaret


CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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