Genomic and dietary transitions during the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic in Sicily
Marieke S. van de Loosdrecht,
Marcello A. Mannino,
Rosaria Di Salvo,
Posted 12 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.11.986158
Posted 12 Mar 2020
Southern Italy is a key region for understanding the agricultural transition in the Mediterranean due to its central position. We present a genomic transect for 19 prehistoric Sicilians that covers the Early Mesolithic to Early Neolithic period. We find that the Early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (HGs) are a highly drifted sister lineage to Early Holocene western European HGs, whereas a quarter of the Late Mesolithic HGs ancestry is related to HGs from eastern Europe and the Near East. This indicates substantial gene flow from (south-)eastern Europe between the Early and Late Mesolithic. The Early Neolithic farmers are genetically most similar to those from the Balkan and Greece, and carry only a maximum of ~7% ancestry from Sicilian Mesolithic HGs. Ancestry changes match changes in dietary profile and material culture, except for two individuals who may provide tentative initial evidence that HGs adopted elements of farming in Sicily.
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