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Stone Age Population Patterns in Central, Eastern Europe Spelled Out in Ancient DNA Study

Uppsala University researchers reporting in Communications Biology outline population patterns identified in Central and Eastern Europe during the Stone Age, or Neolithic, transition, highlighting hunter-gatherer groups present in different parts of the region prior to the arrival of agricultural migrants from Anatolia. Using whole-genome sequencing, the team profiled 56 Mesolithic, Neolithic, or Eneolithic individuals at sites in present-day Romania, Poland, and Ukraine, analyzing cultural practices in combination with local ancestry patterns and uncovering a population in Ukraine's Dnipro Valley that remained relatively isolated during the Stone Age. "Our investigation revealed that before [the] Neolithic, the eastern frontier of Europe contained an admixture cline between genetically differentiated groups from Central Europe and Siberia," the authors report. "We also observe stronger genetic continuity and limited admixture in the Dnipro Valley region after the Neolithic transition while large-scale gene flow took place in populations further to the west."