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Genomic Data from an Ancient European Battlefield Indicates On-Going Strong Selection on a Genomic Region Associated with Lactase Persistence Over the Last 3,000 Years

33 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2020 Publication Status: Review Complete

See all articles by Joachim Burger

Joachim Burger

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Vivian Link

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Jens Blöcher

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Anna Schulz

University of Hamburg

Christian Sell

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Zoé Pochon

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Yoan Diekmann

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Aleksandra Zegarac

University of Novi Sad

Zuzana Hofmanová

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Laura Winkelbach

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Carlos S. Reyna-Blanco

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Vanessa Bieker

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Jörg Orschiedt

Curt Engelhorn Zentrum für Archäometrie

Ute Brinker

State Agency for Heritage Service of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Amelie Scheu

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Ruth Bollongino

Independent

Gundula Lidke

Independent

Sofija Stefanovic

University of Novi Sad

Detlef Jantzen

State Agency for Heritage Service of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Elke Kaiser

Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Thomas Terberger

University of Göttingen

Mark G. Thomas

University College London

Krishna R. Veeramah

Stony Brook University

Daniel Wegmann

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

More...

Abstract

Lactase persistence (LP), the continued expression of lactase into adulthood, is the most strongly selected single gene trait over the last 10,000 years in multiple human populations. It has been posited that the primary allele causing LP among Eurasians, rs4988235*T (Enattah et al. 2008), only rose to appreciable frequencies during the Bronze and Iron Ages (Mathieson et al 2015; Olalde et al. 2018), long after humans started consuming milk from domesticated animals. This rapid rise has been attributed to an influx of peoples from the Pontic-Caspian steppe that began around 5,000 years ago (Allentoft et al. 2015; Furholt et al. 2016). We investigate the spatiotemporal spread of LP through an analysis of 14 warriors from the Tollense Bronze Age battlefield in northern Germany (~3,200 BP); the oldest large-scale conflict site north of the Alps. Genetic data indicate that these individuals represent a single unstructured Central/Northern European population. We complemented these data with genotypes of 18 individuals from the Bronze Age site Mokrin in Serbia (~4,100 to ~3,700 BP) and 37 individuals from eastern Europe and the Pontic-Caspian Steppe region, predating both Bronze Age sites (~5,980 to ~4,250 BP). We infer low LP in all three regions, i.e. in northern Germany, south- eastern, and eastern Europe, suggesting that the surge of rs4988235 in Central and Northern Europe was unlikely caused by Steppe expansions. We estimate a selection coefficient of 0.06, and conclude that the selection was on-going in various parts of Europe over the last 3,000 years.

Keywords: palaeogenomics, lactase persistence, recent selection, population genetics, Bronze Age

Suggested Citation

Burger, Joachim and Link, Vivian and Blöcher, Jens and Schulz, Anna and Sell, Christian and Pochon, Zoé and Diekmann, Yoan and Zegarac, Aleksandra and Hofmanová, Zuzana and Winkelbach, Laura and Reyna-Blanco, Carlos S. and Bieker, Vanessa and Orschiedt, Jörg and Brinker, Ute and Scheu, Amelie and Bollongino, Ruth and Lidke, Gundula and Stefanovic, Sofija and Jantzen, Detlef and Kaiser, Elke and Terberger, Thomas and Thomas, Mark G. and Veeramah, Krishna R. and Wegmann, Daniel, Genomic Data from an Ancient European Battlefield Indicates On-Going Strong Selection on a Genomic Region Associated with Lactase Persistence Over the Last 3,000 Years. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3565013 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3565013
This is a paper under consideration at Cell Press and has not been peer-reviewed.

Joachim Burger (Contact Author)

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group ( email )

Germany

Vivian Link

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Fribourg
Switzerland

Jens Blöcher

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Germany

Anna Schulz

University of Hamburg

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Christian Sell

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group ( email )

Germany

Zoé Pochon

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Fribourg
Switzerland

Yoan Diekmann

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Germany

Aleksandra Zegarac

University of Novi Sad

Trg Dositeja Obradovica 3
Novi Sad, 21000
Serbia

Zuzana Hofmanová

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Fribourg
Switzerland

Laura Winkelbach

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Germany

Carlos S. Reyna-Blanco

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Fribourg
Switzerland

Vanessa Bieker

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Høgskoleringen
Trondheim NO-7491, 7491
Norway

Jörg Orschiedt

Curt Engelhorn Zentrum für Archäometrie

Germany

Ute Brinker

State Agency for Heritage Service of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Germany

Amelie Scheu

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Palaeogenetics Group

Germany

Ruth Bollongino

Independent

Gundula Lidke

Independent

Sofija Stefanovic

University of Novi Sad

Trg Dositeja Obradovica 3
Novi Sad, 21000
Serbia

Detlef Jantzen

State Agency for Heritage Service of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Germany

Elke Kaiser

Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Van't-Hoff-Str. 8
Berlin, Berlin 14195
Germany

Thomas Terberger

University of Göttingen

Mark G. Thomas

University College London

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Krishna R. Veeramah

Stony Brook University

Health Science Center
Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

Daniel Wegmann

University of Fribourg - Department of Biology

Fribourg
Switzerland

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