Reconstructing Prehistoric African Population Structure

September 21st, 2017 (Open Access)

Authors (Senior authors are underlined): Pontus Skoglund, Jessica C. Thompson, Mary E. Prendergast, ..., Ron Pinhasi, Johannes Krause, David Reich

The prehistory of African populations is explored by genome-wide analysis of 16 human remains providing insight into ancestral lineages, admixture, and genomic adaptations

  • Genome-wide analysis of 16 African individuals who lived up to 8,100 years ago
  • Forager populations related to southern African San were once widespread in eastern Africa
  • Comparison of ancient and modern Africans reveal recent genomic adaptations
  • Evidence for a divergent human lineage contributing to western Africans

Ron Pinhasi, Department  of Anthropology, University of Vienna, is a senior author of the paper. His team played a major role in the fieldwork in Malawi (sampling steps), and have made a major contribution to the  ancient DNA optimization steps which are crucial for the  obtainment of ancient DNA from prehistoric African individuals, particularly the extraction of ancient DNA from petrous bones, which is a method that his team has developed in 2014 and has since been adopted by the great majority of ancient laboratories across the world.

The new ancient DNA Laboratory at the Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, will continue to focus on human ancient DNA genomics of populations across the world and experiments to further optimize of ancient DNA sampling, extraction, and library preparation methods which are essential for success with ancient samples from non temperate world regions.