Publications by authors named "Anja Furtwängler"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genome-wide autosomal, mtDNA, and Y chromosome analysis of King Bela III of the Hungarian Arpad dynasty.

Sci Rep 2021 Sep 28;11(1):19210. Epub 2021 Sep 28.

Department of Medical Genetics, Medical School, University of Pécs, Szigeti u. 12, Pécs, 7624, Hungary.

The ancient Hungarians, "Madzsars", established their control of the Carpathian Basin in the late ninth century and founded the Hungarian Kingdom around 1000AD. The origin of the Magyars as a tribal federation has been much debated in the past. From the time of the conquest to the early fourteenth century they were ruled by descendants of the Arpad family. In order to learn more about the genetic origin of this family, we here analyzed the genome of Bela III one of the most prominent members of the early Hungarian dynasty that ruled the Hungarian Kingdom from 1172 to 1196. The Y-Chromosome of Bela III belongs to haplogroup R1a-Z2123 that is today found in highest frequency in Central Asia, supporting a Central Asian origin for the ruling lineage of the Hungarian kingdom. The autosomal DNA profile of Bela III, however, falls within the genetic variation of present-day east European populations. This is further supported through his mtDNA genome that belongs to haplogroup H, the most common European maternal lineage, but also found in Central Asia. However, we didn't find an exact haplotype match for Bela III. The typical autosomal and maternal Central Eastern European ancestry among Bela III autosomes might be best explained by consecutive intermarriage with local European ruling families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-98796-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8478946PMC
September 2021

Comparison of target enrichment strategies for ancient pathogen DNA.

Biotechniques 2020 12 2;69(6):455-459. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, Archaeo- & Palaeogenetics, University of Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.

In ancient DNA research, the degraded nature of the samples generally results in poor yields of highly fragmented DNA; targeted DNA enrichment is thus required to maximize research outcomes. The three commonly used methods - array-based hybridization capture and in-solution capture using either RNA or DNA baits - have different characteristics that may influence the capture efficiency, specificity and reproducibility. Here we compare their performance in enriching pathogen DNA of and from 11 ancient and 19 modern samples. We find that in-solution approaches are the most effective method in ancient and modern samples of both pathogens and that RNA baits usually perform better than DNA baits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/btn-2020-0100DOI Listing
December 2020

Author Correction: Ancient genomes reveal social and genetic structure of Late Neolithic Switzerland.

Nat Commun 2020 09 16;11(1):4759. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, Archaeo- and Palaeogenetics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18561-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7494889PMC
September 2020

Ancient genomes reveal social and genetic structure of Late Neolithic Switzerland.

Nat Commun 2020 04 20;11(1):1915. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, Archaeo- and Palaeogenetics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Genetic studies of Neolithic and Bronze Age skeletons from Europe have provided evidence for strong population genetic changes at the beginning and the end of the Neolithic period. To further understand the implications of these in Southern Central Europe, we analyze 96 ancient genomes from Switzerland, Southern Germany, and the Alsace region in France, covering the Middle/Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age. Similar to previously described genetic changes in other parts of Europe from the early 3rd millennium BCE, we detect an arrival of ancestry related to Late Neolithic pastoralists from the Pontic-Caspian steppe in Switzerland as early as 2860-2460 calBCE. Our analyses suggest that this genetic turnover was a complex process lasting almost 1000 years and involved highly genetically structured populations in this region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15560-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7171184PMC
April 2020

Emergence of human-adapted Salmonella enterica is linked to the Neolithization process.

Nat Ecol Evol 2020 03 24;4(3):324-333. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

School of Archaeology and Ancient History, Leicester University, Leicester, UK.

It has been hypothesized that the Neolithic transition towards an agricultural and pastoralist economy facilitated the emergence of human-adapted pathogens. Here, we recovered eight Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica genomes from human skeletons of transitional foragers, pastoralists and agropastoralists in western Eurasia that were up to 6,500 yr old. Despite the high genetic diversity of S. enterica, all ancient bacterial genomes clustered in a single previously uncharacterized branch that contains S. enterica adapted to multiple mammalian species. All ancient bacterial genomes from prehistoric (agro-)pastoralists fall within a part of this branch that also includes the human-specific S. enterica Paratyphi C, illustrating the evolution of a human pathogen over a period of 5,000 yr. Bacterial genomic comparisons suggest that the earlier ancient strains were not host specific, differed in pathogenic potential and experienced convergent pseudogenization that accompanied their downstream host adaptation. These observations support the concept that the emergence of human-adapted S. enterica is linked to human cultural transformations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1106-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186082PMC
March 2020

Genetic history from the Middle Neolithic to present on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.

Nat Commun 2020 02 24;11(1):939. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Department of History, Human Sciences and Education, University of Sassari, 07100, Sassari, Italy.

The island of Sardinia has been of particular interest to geneticists for decades. The current model for Sardinia's genetic history describes the island as harboring a founder population that was established largely from the Neolithic peoples of southern Europe and remained isolated from later Bronze Age expansions on the mainland. To evaluate this model, we generate genome-wide ancient DNA data for 70 individuals from 21 Sardinian archaeological sites spanning the Middle Neolithic through the Medieval period. The earliest individuals show a strong affinity to western Mediterranean Neolithic populations, followed by an extended period of genetic continuity on the island through the Nuragic period (second millennium BCE). Beginning with individuals from Phoenician/Punic sites (first millennium BCE), we observe spatially-varying signals of admixture with sources principally from the eastern and northern Mediterranean. Overall, our analysis sheds light on the genetic history of Sardinia, revealing how relationships to mainland populations shifted over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14523-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7039977PMC
February 2020

Kinship-based social inequality in Bronze Age Europe.

Science 2019 11 10;366(6466):731-734. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany.

Revealing and understanding the mechanisms behind social inequality in prehistoric societies is a major challenge. By combining genome-wide data, isotopic evidence, and anthropological and archaeological data, we have gone beyond the dominating supraregional approaches in archaeogenetics to shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age. We applied a deep microregional approach and analyzed genome-wide data of 104 human individuals deriving from farmstead-related cemeteries from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age in southern Germany. Our results reveal individual households, lasting several generations, that consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals; a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy; and the stability of this system over 700 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aax6219DOI Listing
November 2019

Reconstructing the Deep Population History of Central and South America.

Cell 2018 11 8;175(5):1185-1197.e22. Epub 2018 Nov 8.

Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig 04103, Germany.

We report genome-wide ancient DNA from 49 individuals forming four parallel time transects in Belize, Brazil, the Central Andes, and the Southern Cone, each dating to at least ∼9,000 years ago. The common ancestral population radiated rapidly from just one of the two early branches that contributed to Native Americans today. We document two previously unappreciated streams of gene flow between North and South America. One affected the Central Andes by ∼4,200 years ago, while the other explains an affinity between the oldest North American genome associated with the Clovis culture and the oldest Central and South Americans from Chile, Brazil, and Belize. However, this was not the primary source for later South Americans, as the other ancient individuals derive from lineages without specific affinity to the Clovis-associated genome, suggesting a population replacement that began at least 9,000 years ago and was followed by substantial population continuity in multiple regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327247PMC
November 2018

Ratio of mitochondrial to nuclear DNA affects contamination estimates in ancient DNA analysis.

Sci Rep 2018 09 19;8(1):14075. Epub 2018 Sep 19.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, Archaeo- and Palaeogenetics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

In the last decade, ancient DNA research has grown rapidly and started to overcome several of its earlier limitations through Next-Generation-Sequencing (NGS). Among other advances, NGS allows direct estimation of sample contamination from modern DNA sources. First NGS-based approaches of estimating contamination measured heterozygosity. These measurements, however, could only be performed on haploid genomic regions, i.e. the mitochondrial genome or male X chromosomes, but provided no measures of contamination in the nuclear genome of females with their two X chromosomes. Instead, female nuclear contamination is routinely extrapolated from mitochondrial contamination estimates, but it remains unclear if this extrapolation is reliable and to what degree variation in mitochondrial to nuclear DNA ratios affects this extrapolation. We therefore analyzed ancient DNA from 317 samples of different skeletal elements from multiple sites, spanning a temporal range from 7,000 BP to 386 AD. We found that the mitochondrial to nuclear DNA (mt/nc) ratio negatively correlates with an increase in endogenous DNA content and strongly influenced mitochondrial and nuclear contamination estimates in males. The ratio of mt to nc contamination estimates remained stable for overall mt/nc ratios below 200, as found particularly often in petrous bones but less in other skeletal elements and became more variable above that ratio.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-32083-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145933PMC
September 2018

Author Correction: The genetic prehistory of the Baltic Sea region.

Nat Commun 2018 04 11;9(1):1494. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745, Jena, Germany.

The original version of this Article omitted references to previous work, which are detailed in the associated Author Correction. These omissions have been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03872-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5895581PMC
April 2018

The genetic prehistory of the Baltic Sea region.

Nat Commun 2018 01 30;9(1):442. Epub 2018 Jan 30.

Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745, Jena, Germany.

While the series of events that shaped the transition between foraging societies and food producers are well described for Central and Southern Europe, genetic evidence from Northern Europe surrounding the Baltic Sea is still sparse. Here, we report genome-wide DNA data from 38 ancient North Europeans ranging from ~9500 to 2200 years before present. Our analysis provides genetic evidence that hunter-gatherers settled Scandinavia via two routes. We reveal that the first Scandinavian farmers derive their ancestry from Anatolia 1000 years earlier than previously demonstrated. The range of Mesolithic Western hunter-gatherers extended to the east of the Baltic Sea, where these populations persisted without gene-flow from Central European farmers during the Early and Middle Neolithic. The arrival of steppe pastoralists in the Late Neolithic introduced a major shift in economy and mediated the spread of a new ancestry associated with the Corded Ware Complex in Northern Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-02825-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5789860PMC
January 2018

Genetic origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans.

Nature 2017 08 2;548(7666):214-218. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany.

The origins of the Bronze Age Minoan and Mycenaean cultures have puzzled archaeologists for more than a century. We have assembled genome-wide data from 19 ancient individuals, including Minoans from Crete, Mycenaeans from mainland Greece, and their eastern neighbours from southwestern Anatolia. Here we show that Minoans and Mycenaeans were genetically similar, having at least three-quarters of their ancestry from the first Neolithic farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, and most of the remainder from ancient populations related to those of the Caucasus and Iran. However, the Mycenaeans differed from Minoans in deriving additional ancestry from an ultimate source related to the hunter-gatherers of eastern Europe and Siberia, introduced via a proximal source related to the inhabitants of either the Eurasian steppe or Armenia. Modern Greeks resemble the Mycenaeans, but with some additional dilution of the Early Neolithic ancestry. Our results support the idea of continuity but not isolation in the history of populations of the Aegean, before and after the time of its earliest civilizations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature23310DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5565772PMC
August 2017

Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods.

Nat Commun 2017 05 30;8:15694. Epub 2017 May 30.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.

Egypt, located on the isthmus of Africa, is an ideal region to study historical population dynamics due to its geographic location and documented interactions with ancient civilizations in Africa, Asia and Europe. Particularly, in the first millennium BCE Egypt endured foreign domination leading to growing numbers of foreigners living within its borders possibly contributing genetically to the local population. Here we present 90 mitochondrial genomes as well as genome-wide data sets from three individuals obtained from Egyptian mummies. The samples recovered from Middle Egypt span around 1,300 years of ancient Egyptian history from the New Kingdom to the Roman Period. Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times. This analysis establishes ancient Egyptian mummies as a genetic source to study ancient human history and offers the perspective of deciphering Egypt's past at a genome-wide level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5459999PMC
May 2017

Extraction of ultrashort DNA molecules from herbarium specimens.

Biotechniques 2017 02 1;62(2):76-79. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Research Group for Ancient Genomics and Evolution, Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany.

DNA extracted from herbarium specimens is highly fragmented; therefore, it is crucial to use extraction protocols that retrieve short DNA molecules. Improvements in extraction and DNA library preparation protocols for animal remains have allowed efficient retrieval of molecules shorter than 50 bp. Here, we applied these improvements to DNA extraction protocols for herbarium specimens and evaluated extraction performance by shotgun sequencing, which allows an accurate estimation of the distribution of DNA fragment lengths. Extraction with N-phenacylthiazolium bromide (PTB) buffer decreased median fragment length by 35% when compared with cetyl-trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB); modifying the binding conditions of DNA to silica allowed for an additional decrease of 10%. We did not observe a further decrease in length for single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) versus double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) library preparation methods. Our protocol enables the retrieval of ultrashort molecules from herbarium specimens, which will help to unlock the genetic information stored in herbaria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/000114517DOI Listing
February 2017

Mitogenome Diversity in Sardinians: A Genetic Window onto an Island's Past.

Mol Biol Evol 2017 05;34(5):1230-1239

Department of Biological Sciences, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, Queensgate, United Kingdom.

Sardinians are "outliers" in the European genetic landscape and, according to paleogenomic nuclear data, the closest to early European Neolithic farmers. To learn more about their genetic ancestry, we analyzed 3,491 modern and 21 ancient mitogenomes from Sardinia. We observed that 78.4% of modern mitogenomes cluster into 89 haplogroups that most likely arose in situ. For each Sardinian-specific haplogroup (SSH), we also identified the upstream node in the phylogeny, from which non-Sardinian mitogenomes radiate. This provided minimum and maximum time estimates for the presence of each SSH on the island. In agreement with demographic evidence, almost all SSHs coalesce in the post-Nuragic, Nuragic and Neolithic-Copper Age periods. For some rare SSHs, however, we could not dismiss the possibility that they might have been on the island prior to the Neolithic, a scenario that would be in agreement with archeological evidence of a Mesolithic occupation of Sardinia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msx082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400395PMC
May 2017

Neandertal cannibalism and Neandertal bones used as tools in Northern Europe.

Sci Rep 2016 07 6;6:29005. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

Institute for Archaeological Sciences, Archaeo- and Palaeogenetics, University of Tübingen, Rümelinstr. 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany.

Almost 150 years after the first identification of Neandertal skeletal material, the cognitive and symbolic abilities of these populations remain a subject of intense debate. We present 99 new Neandertal remains from the Troisième caverne of Goyet (Belgium) dated to 40,500-45,500 calBP. The remains were identified through a multidisciplinary study that combines morphometrics, taphonomy, stable isotopes, radiocarbon dating and genetic analyses. The Goyet Neandertal bones show distinctive anthropogenic modifications, which provides clear evidence for butchery activities as well as four bones having been used for retouching stone tools. In addition to being the first site to have yielded multiple Neandertal bones used as retouchers, Goyet not only provides the first unambiguous evidence of Neandertal cannibalism in Northern Europe, but also highlights considerable diversity in mortuary behaviour among the region's late Neandertal population in the period immediately preceding their disappearance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep29005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4933918PMC
July 2016

The genetic history of Ice Age Europe.

Nature 2016 06 2;534(7606):200-5. Epub 2016 May 2.

Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas, Universidad de Cantabria, 39005 Santander, Spain.

Modern humans arrived in Europe ~45,000 years ago, but little is known about their genetic composition before the start of farming ~8,500 years ago. Here we analyse genome-wide data from 51 Eurasians from ~45,000-7,000 years ago. Over this time, the proportion of Neanderthal DNA decreased from 3-6% to around 2%, consistent with natural selection against Neanderthal variants in modern humans. Whereas there is no evidence of the earliest modern humans in Europe contributing to the genetic composition of present-day Europeans, all individuals between ~37,000 and ~14,000 years ago descended from a single founder population which forms part of the ancestry of present-day Europeans. An ~35,000-year-old individual from northwest Europe represents an early branch of this founder population which was then displaced across a broad region, before reappearing in southwest Europe at the height of the last Ice Age ~19,000 years ago. During the major warming period after ~14,000 years ago, a genetic component related to present-day Near Easterners became widespread in Europe. These results document how population turnover and migration have been recurring themes of European prehistory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature17993DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943878PMC
June 2016

Pleistocene Mitochondrial Genomes Suggest a Single Major Dispersal of Non-Africans and a Late Glacial Population Turnover in Europe.

Curr Biol 2016 Mar 4;26(6):827-33. Epub 2016 Feb 4.

Department of Geosciences, Biogeology, University of Tübingen, Hölderlinstraße 12, 72074 Tübingen, Germany; Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, 72072 Tübingen, Germany.

How modern humans dispersed into Eurasia and Australasia, including the number of separate expansions and their timings, is highly debated [1, 2]. Two categories of models are proposed for the dispersal of non-Africans: (1) single dispersal, i.e., a single major diffusion of modern humans across Eurasia and Australasia [3-5]; and (2) multiple dispersal, i.e., additional earlier population expansions that may have contributed to the genetic diversity of some present-day humans outside of Africa [6-9]. Many variants of these models focus largely on Asia and Australasia, neglecting human dispersal into Europe, thus explaining only a subset of the entire colonization process outside of Africa [3-5, 8, 9]. The genetic diversity of the first modern humans who spread into Europe during the Late Pleistocene and the impact of subsequent climatic events on their demography are largely unknown. Here we analyze 55 complete human mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs) of hunter-gatherers spanning ∼35,000 years of European prehistory. We unexpectedly find mtDNA lineage M in individuals prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). This lineage is absent in contemporary Europeans, although it is found at high frequency in modern Asians, Australasians, and Native Americans. Dating the most recent common ancestor of each of the modern non-African mtDNA clades reveals their single, late, and rapid dispersal less than 55,000 years ago. Demographic modeling not only indicates an LGM genetic bottleneck, but also provides surprising evidence of a major population turnover in Europe around 14,500 years ago during the Late Glacial, a period of climatic instability at the end of the Pleistocene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.037DOI Listing
March 2016
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