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Feb 04, 2017 08:27 AM EST

International University Scientists Find DNA Continuity In Ancient Humans And Modern East Asians


An international team of scientists were able to find similarities between the genetic makeup of ancient humans and some modern East Asian populations. The researchers were from the University of Cambridge, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Korea and Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin in Ireland reported that the researchers studied ancient DNA which was extracted from human remains that were buried almost 8,000 years ago. They were the first to collect nuclear genome data from ancient mainland East Asia and compared the results to modern populations.

The study, which was published in the journal "Science Advances," found that there was no significant migratory interruption or "population turnover" for over seven millennia. With this, some contemporary ethnic groups still share a genetic similarity to their Stone Age ancestors.

Deemed as "high genetic continuity," this phenomenon in East Asia is opposite of what happened to most of Western Europe where the migrations of early farmers from the Levant overpowered the hunter-gatherer populations. Moreover, during the Bronze Age, this was followed by horse riders from Central Asia, which was most likely motivated by the success of agriculture and metallurgy.

This new research points to evidence that, in East Asia, there is little genetic disruption in populations ever since the early phases of the Neolithic period. The Ulchi people of the Amur Basin, located in the proximity of Russian borders for China and North Korea, and the ancient hunter-gatherers whose remains are buried in a cave close to the Ulchi's home.

According to Science Magazine, the data was collected from DNA extracted from the teeth, inner ear bones as well as other skull bones of two skeletons found in the Devil's Gate Cave, which is also known as Chertovy Vorota Cave. The skeletons were also found to be related to other groups of people who speak the endangered Tungusic languages spoken by ethnic people in Eastern Siberia and China.

The women, whose skeletons were used in the study, were also believed to look like modern people in the Amur Basin. They were said to have brown eyes, straight thick hair, similar skin color as Asians as well as shovel-shaped incisors.

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