The Neolithic is a key period in the history of the European settlement. Although archaeological and present-day genetic data suggest several hypotheses regarding the human migration patterns at this period, validation of these hypotheses with the use of ancient genetic data has been limited. In this context, we studied DNA extracted from 53 individuals buried in a necropolis used by a French local community 5,000 y ago. The relatively good DNA preservation of the samples allowed us to obtain autosomal, Y-chromosomal, and/or mtDNA data for 29 of the 53 samples studied. From these datasets, we established close parental relationships within the necropolis and determined maternal and paternal lineages as well as the absence of an allele associated with lactase persistence, probably carried by Neolithic cultures of central Europe. Our study provides an integrative view of the genetic past in southern France at the end of the Neolithic period. Furthermore, the Y-haplotype lineages characterized and the study of their current repartition in European populations confirm a greater influence of the Mediterranean than the Central European route in the peopling of southern Europe during the Neolithic transition.Note: contra the authors' assertion, lactase persistence was probably not carried by Neolithic central Europeans; the most common European LP-associated allele has been absent in all central European Neolithic samples tested to date.
R-M269 which, because of its apparent young Y-STR age has been tied by some to either the Mediterranean or Central European Neolithic is conspicuous absently from both at the moment. It may yet surface in a Neolithic context, but its absence this late from a region where, today, it is abundant only adds to its mystery.In fact, the amateur estimates using actual mutation rates put the spread of R1b into Western Europe clearly post-Neolithic.
R1b and LP in Western Europe are in all likelihood associated with the dispersal of Indo-European languages.
These findings add to ancient DNA evidence indicating large-scale post-Neolithic population replacement in Europe. Coon and other traditional physical anthropologists, it turns out, probably had a better handle on European prehistory 70 years ago than population geneticists did five years ago.