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Mediterranean farmers migrated to Scandinavia 5,000 years ago

A new genetic study suggests that Mediterranean farmers migrated to Scandinavia 5,000 years ago where they interbred with the local hunter-gatherers.

Pieces of DNA extracted from an ancient farmer’s remains buried in southern Sweden display gene variants most like those found in people now living in Greece and Cyprus, the scientists report in the April 27 Science. DNA retrieved from the bones of three hunter-gatherers interred on an island off Sweden’s coast contains distinctive gene variants that most resemble those of native Finns.

Most Europeans today possess genetic arrangements in between those of the long-dead farmer and his hunter-gatherer neighbors, Skoglund’s team finds. Breeding between culturally discrete cultivators and foragers contributed to Europeans’ current genetic makeup, the researchers propose.

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Story: Bruce Bower, Science News | Photo: Goran Burenhult

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