Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Age Of The Leading Berber Y-DNA Haplogroup Dates To Camel Domestication

The predominant Y-DNA clades in Berbers (predominant in Western North Africa) have a most recent common ancestor in the time period ca. 500 BCE to 1000 BCE. In contrast, Y-DNA E-M78, common in Eastern North Africa, has a most recent common ancestor ca. 7,500 BCE to 10,500 BCE (i.e. in the Mesolithic shortly before the arrival of the Neolithic Revolution in Africa). The paper is: "Whole Y-chromosome sequences reveal an extremely recent origin of the most common North African paternal lineage E-M183 (M81)."

This expansion of Y-DNA E-M81 coincides reasonably closely with camel domestication (see also a PNAS paper from 2016), or at least the arrival of domesticated camels in North Africa, in a place where it is plausible that use of camels could provide a group of men with a powerful, culturally driven, selective advantage.

Previous musings on Berbers, genetics and camel domestication can be found in posts from January 5, 2015, in connection with an analysis of North African DNA, and October 7, 2014, in connection with a review of papers about Megalithic era ancient DNA in Western Europe.

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