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Geneticists at the University of Leicester have discovered that most Europeans are descendants of a few Bronze Age ancestors.
This research project is led by Professor Mark Jobling from the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester and has been published in the prestigious journal 'Nature Communications'. The research team has discovered that the DNA sequences that are present in most of the 'Y' chromosome, are transmitted exclusively from parents to children, in 334 men from 17 European populations in Europe and the Middle East.
Professor Jobling has stated: 'The expansion of the population falls in the Bronze Age, which coincides with the practice of burial practices, the spread of horse riding and the development of weapons. The dominant men of those cultures could be responsible for the 'Y' pattern that we observe today«.
Further, the population of the Balkans and the British Isles has been found to have grown between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago.
Previous research has focused on the proportion of Europeans of Paleolithic, Iron Age, or Neolithic human descendants, reflecting a transition that began 10,000 years ago.
Chiara Batini, from the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester, and another of those responsible for the study added: «Due to the cultural complexity of the Bronze Age, it is difficult to establish a link between a particular event and the population growth that we intuit. But the DNA on the 'Y' chromosome is helping us determine what actually happened and when«.