[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been argued recently that the initial dispersal of anatomically modern humans from Africa to southern Asia occurred before the volcanic "supereruption" of the Mount Toba volcano (Sumatra) at ∼74,000 y before present (B.P.)-possibly as early as 120,000 y B.P. We show here that this "pre-Toba" dispersal model is in serious conflict with both the most recent genetic evidence from both Africa and Asia and the archaeological evidence from South Asian sites. We present an alternative model based on a combination of genetic analyses and recent archaeological evidence from South Asia and Africa. These data support a coastally oriented dispersal of modern humans from eastern Africa to southern Asia ∼60-50 thousand years ago (ka). This was associated with distinctively African microlithic and "backed-segment" technologies analogous to the African "Howiesons Poort" and related technologies, together with a range of distinctively "modern" cultural and symbolic features (highly shaped bone tools, personal ornaments, abstract artistic motifs, microblade technology, etc.), similar to those that accompanied the replacement of "archaic" Neanderthal by anatomically modern human populations in other regions of western Eurasia at a broadly similar date.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2013;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The geographic distribution of genetic diversity and the population structure of tetraploid wheat landraces in the Mediterranean basin has received relatively little attention. This is complicated by the lack of consensus concerning the taxonomy of tetraploid wheats and by unresolved questions regarding the domestication and spread of naked wheats. These knowledge gaps hinder crop diversity conservation efforts and plant breeding programmes. We investigated genetic diversity and population structure in tetraploid wheats (wild emmer, emmer, rivet and durum) using nuclear and chloroplast simple sequence repeats, functional variations and insertion site-based polymorphisms. Emmer and wild emmer constitute a genetically distinct population from durum and rivet, the latter seeming to share a common gene pool. Our population structure and genetic diversity data suggest a dynamic history of introduction and extinction of genotypes in the Mediterranean fields.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The reanalysis of findings from two archaeological sites calls for a
reassessment of when modern humans settled in Europe, and of Neanderthal
cultural achievements. See Letters p.521 & p.525
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: European Neandertals were replaced by modern human populations from Africa ~40,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence from the best-documented region of Europe shows that during this replacement human populations increased by one order of magnitude, suggesting that numerical supremacy alone may have been a critical factor in facilitating this replacement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Historic DNA data have the potential to identify phenotypic information otherwise invisible in the historical, archaeological and palaeontological record. In order to determine whether a single nucleotide polymorphism typing protocol based on single based extension (SNaPshot™) could produce reliable phenotypic data from historic samples, we genotyped three coat colour markers for a sample of historic Thoroughbred horses for which both phenotypic and correct genotypic information were known from pedigree information in the General Stud Book. Experimental results were consistent with the pedigrees in all cases. Thus we demonstrate that historic DNA techniques can produce reliable phenotypic information from museum specimens.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 07/2009; 19(4):476 - 490.
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