Sex, Power and Ancient DNA


Turi King praises David Reich for mapping his human DNA.

Ancient DNA area, studied for over 30 years, can be considered a young discipline. With the rapid growth of new techniques for extracting human DNA from complex materials in ancient specimens, the area of ​​ancient DNA is becoming increasingly popular.

This discipline draws attention to its distant past. One of these findings is that people changed Britain's population considerably from Beaker culture 4,500 years ago. The other is the oldest known genome. This genome, which belongs to a 700,000-year-old horse on the frozen ground of Canada, shows that all the horses, donkeys and zebras of today are living about four million years ago. King of England III under a parking lot in Leicester in 2012. When Richard's remains were analyzed for DNA, the complexity and challenges of the area came to light.

There are fewer laboratories that do not digest ancient DNA. David Reich's laboratory, founded in Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts in 2013, is among the first to be established in the United States in the field of ancient DNA and the world's most prestigious Ancient DNA laboratories. Hundreds of samples are being examined here every year. How did human evolution happen? How did the human population increase in different continents? How did the ethnic blends of genetics make us? Reich, with whom we and How We Got Here describes the answers that ancient DNA can give to these questions.

( The Difficult Relationship Between Archeology and Genomics )

Reich and his team have developed some of the most complicated statistical and bioinformatics techniques developed up to now. Through computers, the genomic knowledge of the DNA fragments of ancient individuals was carefully restructured. Then, this information was examined in depth to better understand human history.

Beaker was Reich's lab, making remarkable work on culture. Moreover, this group includes many important discoveries made during the past decade. The Reich talks about these inventions. For example, Reich's team also contributed to the staggering effort to unleash the ancestors of all non-African modern people, such as Europeans and Asians, to Neanderthals.

This team, which reversed previous studies based solely on mitochondrial DNA, was a contribution to the genetic analysis of Denisovals named hominins. This study made it clear that the Deniovians and Neanderthals were closer to each other than modern humans. The line of hominid ancestors extending to modern humans has disintegrated 770,000 to 550,000 years ago. After 100,000 to 400,000 years without this separation, the other arm was differentiated as the Denisovals and Neanderthals. It also turned out that the ancestors of the modern New Gineles were also mated with the Denisovs from 54,000 to 44,000 years ago.

At the same time, Reich mentions the ghosts in our past. Each component of the genetic makeup of ancient and modern people can not be explained by archeological and historical evidence. Genetic analysis of ancient and modern populations suggests that unexplored groups inherit DNA from future generations. For example, the Reich group found that Europeans carry genes similar to those of the Americans rather than the Eastern Asians. This was not explained by the fact that the races soon mixed with each other. The researchers suggest that there is another group of people now extinct 15,000 years ago, and that the common DNA of Europeans and Americans come from this group. Reich's team gave this group of people the name 'Ancient North Eurasian'.

For a long time there was no evidence of this ghost population. Then another group, led by Eske Willerslev, published a genomic dataset for a recent breed. This data matches the assumptions of the Reich group. The remains of a child dated to 24,000 years ago in Siberia's "Mal'ta" region were regarded as the first example of the ancient Northern Eurasian, not the eternal bone, ( M. Raghavan et al., Nature 505, 87-91, 2014 ). The existence of different ghost populations was also envisaged. As the first examples of these populations are discovered, the pieces of the puzzle will come together and researchers will be able to reach even earlier dates.

Genetic origins of the Mycenaean and Minosian societies were revealed by ancient DNA )

Reich talks more than many different things. Nearly 5,000 years ago, Yamnaya cultures were among the works of Reich, the spread of Asia from Central Europe to the Altai Mountains, Andaman Islands and populations of India, North American finds like the 8,500-year-old Kennewick Man .

Ancient DNA laboratories reveal which populations are intermingled with generation. Gone is a genealogy spreading from Africa to the world, each branch representing a new population that never touches others. The result of the research is much more complex and exciting; populations that are scattered and reunited, exchanges under pressure, exchange of ideas, and groups that take part in each other.

The game of Thrones removes the perennial genomic knowledge and statistics on the stories of sex and power struggle.

In a sincere section of the book, Reich mentions that his work may be misinterpreted by people outside of society and the field. Genetic findings may be weighted by prejudiced and biased interpretations. We are all members of the same family and we are related to each other. However, when referring to the genetic differences between populations, for example, press and interest groups may deviate from the purpose of reducing the base. Some just choose and choose the results to justify their own personal, ideological, or unfortunately racist views. Others are underestimating the differences. Yet, according to Reich, we need a non-prejudicial ground to talk about genetic similarities and diversity in society. This book will be useful for starting such a speech.

Nature. March 13, 2018.

doi: 10.1038 / d41586-018-02964-5


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