The transformation of the genomes of the inhabitants of France during the Protohistory

The protohistory of France was punctuated by two migration waves, one during the Neolithic that started around 6300 years ago and one during the Bronze Age 4200 years ago. This is the major result of a new paleogenomic study published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) of the “Epigenome and Paleogenome” group of the Institut Jacques Monod, Université de Paris, CNRS in collaboration with numerous French archaeologists and paleoanthropologists affiliated to the INRAP, the CNRS, universities and archaeological companies.

These migrations were also observed elsewhere in Europe. Each region, however, is characterized by particularities that changed the modalities, the speed and the degree of the admixture process. In France, the study showed that there was admixture between the autochthonous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and the first Neolithic migrants of Anatolian origin who brought the Neolithic agriculture-based lifestyle to France that was on. This admixture remains visible in the genomes of the native French. Around 4200 years ago, the herders from the Pontic Steppes arrived in France and most likely brought technologies of metallurgy. Their admixture with the Neolithic populations on the French territory also left a lasting genomic footprint in the genomes of the French. Even today, the Y chromosomes of the majority of French men carry the signature of these Steppe herders.

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Brunel, S., Bennett, E.A., Cardin, L., Garraud, D., Barrand Emam, H., Beylier, A., Boulestin, B., Chenal, F., Cieselski, E., Convertini, F., Dedet, B., Desenne, S., Dubouloz, J., Duday, H., Fabre, V., Gailledrat, E., Gandelin, M., Gleize, Y., Goepfert, S., Guilaine, J., Hachem, L., Ilett, M., Lambach, F., Mazière, F., Perrin, B., Plouin, S., Pinard, E., Praud, I., Richard, I., Riquier, V., Roure, R., Sendra, B., Thevenet, C., Thiol, S., Vauquelin, E., Vergnaud, L., Grange, T.*, Geigl, E.-M.*, Pruvost, M. 2020*.

Ancient genomes from present-day France unveil 7,000 years of its demographic history. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA

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