Ron Pinhasi

Ron Pinhasi
University of Vienna | UniWien · Department of Anthropology

PhD, University of Cambridge

About

331
Publications
275,410
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Introduction
My research mainly focuses on ancient DNA genomics of human populations across the world during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene with a strong link to physical anthropology and archaeology. I am also working on aDNA from sediments and pathogen aDNA as well as on the genomics of domesticated species and commensals. For further information contact me at: ron.pinhasi@univie.ac.at
Additional affiliations
October 2012 - present
University College Dublin
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Director of aDNA labs, teaching and supervising students in aDNA, biological anthropology and prehistoric archaeology
January 2011 - December 2014
Trinity College Dublin
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2007 - September 2012
University College Cork
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Teaching and supervising students in prehistoric archaeology, human osteology, and ancient DNA
Education
October 1998 - March 2003
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Biological Anthropology
September 1996 - July 1997
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • Archaeology
August 1991 - March 1995
Simon Fraser University
Field of study
  • Archaeology

Publications

Publications (331)
Article
Full-text available
Multiple lines of genetic and archaeological evidence suggest that there were major demographic changes in the terminal Late Pleistocene epoch and early Holocene epoch of sub-Saharan Africa1,2,3,4. Inferences about this period are challenging to make because demographic shifts in the past 5,000 years have obscured the structures of more ancient pop...
Article
Full-text available
We are a group of archaeologists, anthropologists, curators and geneticists representing diverse global communities and 31 countries. All of us met in a virtual workshop dedicated to ethics in ancient DNA research held in November 2020. There was widespread agreement that globally applicable ethical guidelines are needed, but that recent recommenda...
Article
Full-text available
Paleogenomic and bioanthropological studies of ancient massacres have highlighted sites where the victims were male and plausibly died all in battle, or were executed members of the same family as might be expected from a killing intentionally directed at subsets of a community, or where the massacred individuals were plausibly members of a migrant...
Data
Tracking shot using micro-CT scans through the central parts of the upper lateral incisors (i2) ind1 to the left, ind2 to the right. Red arrows mark the neonatal lines and white arrows mark accentuated lines
Article
Full-text available
The Upper Palaeolithic double burial of newborns and the single burial of a ca. 3-month-old infant uncovered at the Gravettian site of Krems-Wachtberg, Austria, are of paramount importance given the rarity of immature human remains from this time. Genome-wide ancient DNA shows that the male infants of the double grave are the earliest reported case...
Article
Dogs were the first domestic animal, but little is known about their population history and to what extent it was linked to humans. We sequenced 27 ancient dog genomes and found that all dogs share a common ancestry distinct from present-day wolves, with limited gene flow from wolves since domestication but substantial dog-to-wolf gene flow. By 11,...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs were the first domestic animal, but little is known about their population history and to what extent it was linked to humans. We sequenced 27 ancient dog genomes and found that all dogs share a common ancestry distinct from present-day wolves, with limited gene flow from wolves since domestication but substantial dog-to-wolf gene flow. By 11,...
Article
Full-text available
Dog domestication was multifaceted Dogs were the first domesticated animal, likely originating from human-associated wolves, but their origin remains unclear. Bergstrom et al. sequenced 27 ancient dog genomes from multiple locations near to and corresponding in time to comparable human ancient DNA sites (see the Perspective by Pavlidis and Somel)....
Preprint
Full-text available
Over the last few years, genome-wide data for a large number of ancient human samples have been collected. Whilst datasets of capture SNPs have been collated, high coverage shotgun genomes (which are relatively few but allow certain type of analyses not possible with ascertained captured SNPs) have to be reprocessed by individual groups from raw re...
Preprint
Full-text available
Upward Sun River 1, an individual from a unique burial of the Denali tradition in Alaska (11500 calBP), is considered a type representative of Ancient Beringians who split from other First Americans 22000–18000 calBP in Beringia. Using a new admixture graph model-comparison approach resistant to overfitting, we show that Ancient Beringians do not f...
Article
Full-text available
The Neolithic transition in Europe was driven by the rapid dispersal of Near Eastern farmers who, over a period of 3,500 years, brought food production to the furthest corners of the continent. However, this wave of expansion was far from homogeneous, and climatic factors may have driven a marked slowdown observed at higher latitudes. Here, we test...
Article
The archipelago of Vanuatu has been at the crossroads of human population movements in the Pacific for the past three millennia. To help address several open questions regarding the history of these movements, we generated genome-wide data for 11 ancient individuals from the island of Efate dating from its earliest settlement to the recent past, in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The transition to farming was among the most significant events in human history that drove major biological and cultural change globally. For its situation in central Europe the Great Hungarian Plain (GHP) was the meeting point of Eastern and Western European cultures. Moreover, this was an area of high population influx and admixture during Europ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ancient DNA sampling methods--although optimized for efficient DNA extraction--are destructive, relying on drilling or cutting and powdering (parts of) bones and teeth. As the field of ancient DNA has grown, so have concerns about the impact of destructive sampling of the skeletal remains from which ancient DNA is obtained. Due to a particularly hi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humans settled the Caribbean ~6,000 years ago, with intensified agriculture and ceramic use marking a shift from the Archaic Age to the Ceramic Age ~2,500 years ago. To shed new light on the history of Caribbean people, we report genome-wide data from 184 individuals predating European contact from The Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Curaça...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
We report genome-wide DNA data for 73 individuals from five archaeological sites across the Bronze and Iron Ages Southern Levant. These individuals, who share the “Canaanite” material culture, can be modeled as descending from two sources: (1) earlier local Neolithic populations and (2) populations related to the Chalcolithic Zagros or the Bronze A...
Preprint
Full-text available
Bioinformatic pipelines optimised for the processing and assessment of metagenomic ancient DNA (aDNA) are needed for studies that do not make use of high yielding DNA capture techniques. These bioinformatic pipelines are traditionally optimised for broad aDNA purposes, are contingent on selection biases and are associated with high costs. Here we p...
Conference Paper
Moots, H., Pickel, D., Sperduti, A., Antonio, ML., Gao, Z., Nava, A., Gelabert, P., Lucci, F., Candilio, F., Sawyer, S., Oberreiter, V., Rubini, M., Bondioli, L., Coppa, A., Pinhasi, R., Pritchard, J. 2020. The genetics of malaria resistance in ancient Rome. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 171 (S69) :191-192. https://onlinelibrary.wiley....
Preprint
Full-text available
The deep population history of East Asia remains poorly understood due to a lack of ancient DNA data and sparse sampling of present-day people. We report genome-wide data from 191 individuals from Mongolia, northern China, Taiwan, the Amur River Basin and Japan dating to 6000 BCE – 1000 CE, many from contexts never previously analyzed with ancient...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in potential regulatory elements are thought to be key drivers of phenotypic divergence. However, identifying changes to regulatory elements that underlie human-specific traits has proven very challenging. Here, we use 63 reconstructed and experimentally measured DNA methylation maps of ancient and present-day humans, as well as of six chim...
Article
Full-text available
Steppe-pastoralist-related ancestry reached Central Europe by at least 2500 bc, whereas Iranian farmer-related ancestry was present in Aegean Europe by at least 1900 bc. However, the spread of these ancestries into the western Mediterranean, where they have contributed to many populations that live today, remains poorly understood. Here, we generat...
Article
DNA recovery from ancient human remains has revolutionized our ability to reconstruct the genetic landscape of the past. Ancient DNA research has benefited from the identification of skeletal elements, such as the cochlear part of the osseous inner ear, that provide optimal contexts for DNA preservation; however, the rich genetic information obtain...
Article
Full-text available
Scenarios for the dispersal of Homo sapiens in Southern Europe and in the Mediterranean basin have been uncertain, given the scarceness of osteological samples and the simplicity of the proposed archaeologically-based settlement hypotheses. According to available data, the first anatomically modern humans entered Sicily during the Late Pleistocene,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Palaeogenomes provide the potential to study evolutionary processes in real time⁠, but this potential is limited by our ability to recover genetic data over extended timescales. The Late Pleistocene currently represents the age-limit for temperate-zone palaeogenome retrieval. Consequently, large portions of the evolutionary histories of many organi...
Article
Full-text available
Ancient Rome was the capital of an empire of ~70 million inhabitants, but little is known about the genetics of ancient Romans. Here we present 127 genomes from 29 archaeological sites in and around Rome, spanning the past 12,000 years. We observe two major prehistoric ancestry transitions: one with the introduction of farming and another prior to...
Article
Ancient Rome was the capital of an empire of ~70 million inhabitants, but little is known about the genetics of ancient Romans. Here we present 127 genomes from 29 archaeological sites in and around Rome, spanning the past 12,000 years. We observe two major prehistoric ancestry transitions: one with the introduction of farming and another prior to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Regulatory changes are broadly accepted as key drivers of phenotypic divergence. However, identifying regulatory changes that underlie human-specific traits has proven very challenging. Here, we use 63 DNA methylation maps of ancient and present-day humans, as well as of six chimpanzees, to detect differentially methylated regions that emerged in m...
Article
Full-text available
By sequencing 523 ancient humans, we show that the primary source of ancestry in modern South Asians is a prehistoric genetic gradient between people related to early hunter-gatherers of Iran and Southeast Asia. After the Indus Valley Civilization’s decline, its people mixed with individuals in the southeast to form one of the two main ancestral po...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological evidence indicates that pig domestication had begun by ∼10,500 y before the present (BP) in the Near East, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggests that pigs arrived in Europe alongside farmers ∼8,500 y BP. A few thousand years after the introduction of Near Eastern pigs into Europe, however, their characteristic mtDNA signature disapp...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological evidence indicates that pig domestication had begun by ∼10,500 y before the present (BP) in the Near East, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggests that pigs arrived in Europe alongside farmers ∼8,500 y BP. A few thousand years after the introduction of Near Eastern pigs into Europe, however, their characteristic mtDNA signature disapp...
Article
Full-text available
Three individuals dating to the Great Migration Period (5th century CE) were discovered in a pit at the Hermanov vinograd site in Osijek, Croatia. We were inspired to study these individuals based on their unusual burial context as well as the identification of two different types of artificial cranial deformation in two of the individuals. We comb...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeological evidence indicates that pig domestication had begun by ∼10,500 y before the present (BP) in the Near East, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggests that pigs arrived in Europe alongside farmers ∼8,500 y BP. A few thousand years after the introduction of Near Eastern pigs into Europe, however, their characteristic mtDNA signature disapp...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The acquisition of biological information and assessment of the most probable geographic origin of unidentified individuals for obtaining positive identification is central in forensic sciences. Identification based on forensic DNA, however, varies greatly in relation to degradation of DNA. Our primary aim is to assess the applicability of...
Article
Full-text available
Much of the American Arctic was first settled 5,000 years ago, by groups of people known as Palaeo-Eskimos. They were subsequently joined and largely displaced around 1,000 years ago by ancestors of the present-day Inuit and Yup’ik1–3. The genetic relationship between Palaeo-Eskimos and Native American, Inuit, Yup’ik and Aleut populations remains u...
Preprint
Full-text available
DNA recovery from ancient human remains has revolutionized our ability to reconstruct the genetic landscape of the past. Ancient DNA research has benefited from the identification of skeletal elements, such as the cochlear part of the osseous inner ear, that provide optimal contexts for DNA preservation; however, the rich genetic information obtain...
Article
Full-text available
This paper offers a comparative study of land use and demographic development in northern and southern Greece from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period. Results from summed probability densities (SPD) of archaeological radiocarbon dates and settlement numbers derived from archaeological site surveys are combined with results from cluster-based ana...
Article
Full-text available
Metagenomic analysis is a highly promising technique in paleogenetic research that allows analysis of the complete genomic make-up of a sample. This technique has successfully been employed to archaeological sediments, but possible leaching of DNA through the sequence limits interpretation. We applied this technique to the analysis of ancient DNA (...
Conference Paper
The animosity between the fields of archaeology and ancient DNA (aDNA) has never been as prevalent in the academic world as over the past few years. Communities of archaeologists have spoken out against aDNA studies as responsible for destroying cultural identities and perpetuating Kossinna-like ideas of ‘master races’ (Heyd 2017). While aDNA commu...
Preprint
Full-text available
A series of studies have documented how Steppe pastoralist-related ancestry reached central Europe by at least 2500 BCE, while Iranian farmer-related ancestry was present in Aegean Europe by at least 1900 BCE. However, the spread of these ancestries into the western Mediterranean where they have contributed to many populations living today remains...
Article
Full-text available
We assembled genome-wide data from 271 ancient Iberians, of whom 176 are from the largely unsampled period after 2000 BCE, thereby providing a high-resolution time transect of the Iberian Peninsula.We document high genetic substructure between northwestern and southeastern hunter-gatherers before the spread of farming.We reveal sporadic contacts be...
Conference Paper
Introduction Ancient DNA (aDNA) studies traditionally focus on skeletal remains, a limitation for archaeological, environmental and forensic contexts with poor preservation. No method exists for isolating aDNA from sedimentation with geopolymer inhibition. Aims Here we present the development and application of a novel aDNA extraction protocol whic...
Article
The cortical bone that forms the structure of the cochlea, part of the osseous labyrinth of the inner ear, is now one of the most frequently used skeletal elements in analyses of human ancient DNA. However, there is currently no published, standardized method for its sampling. This protocol describes the preparation of bone powder from the cochlea...
Article
We respond to issues raised in the recent Forum on “Ancient DNA and its contribution to understanding the human history of the Pacific Islands” in Archaeology in Oceania by Bedford et al. We first present an emerging model for the early peopling of Vanuatu combining the genetic and archaeological evidence. Second, we respond specifically to the cri...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeogenetic studies have described the formation of Eurasian ‘steppe ancestry’ as a mixture of Eastern and Caucasus hunter-gatherers. However, it remains unclear when and where this ancestry arose and whether it was related to a horizon of cultural innovations in the 4th millennium BCE that subsequently facilitated the advance of pastoral societ...