A collaboration between scientists from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, researchers from the University of Mainz, the State Heritage Museum in Halle (Germany), and National Geographic Society's Genographic Project has produced the most detailed ancient European genetic profile ever produced according to an article in the Oct. 10, 2013, edition of the journal Science.
The extraction and examination of DNA from 364 prehistoric human skeletons from the Mittelelbe-Saale region of Germany are the most extensive mitochondrial DNA investigation ever attempted and elucidates European ancestry from 7,500 to 3,500 years ago. The DNA represents people from the early Neolithic Era and the Early Bronze Age. The analysis took eight years to complete and correlate.
The genetic information was correlated with known l artifacts that are representative of the cultures, people, and cultural developments that are represented by the DNA analysis.
The researchers found that more influences on the genetic makeup of modern Europeans were in play in ancient times than had previously been thought. Hunter-gatherers and the first farmers coexisted for about 1.500 years before farming became the norm about 2,500 years ago.
Transfer of culture and interbreeding occurred between early Europeans and peoples from Africa and Asia. There was also a huge transfer of DNA and knowledge between ancient Germans and people from Spain, England, Italy, Greece, Russia, and Scandinavia. The African and Asian influence had been the accepted and preferential route of culture transfer prior to this new analysis.
Definite genetic changes in German peoples can be traced through the newly revealed DNA lineage.