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Thread: Ancient dna from the Canary Islands

  1. #1
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    Ancient dna from the Canary Islands

    See: Riccardo Rodriguez-Varela
    Genomic Analyses of Pre-European Conquest Human Remains from the Canary Islands Reveal Close Affinity to Modern North Africans

    The results are as expected for Guanches, but it's good to get confirmation. They provide mtDna and yDna as well. Interesting they already had quite a bit of L3. Even more interesting if they could get earlier samples.


    • The first genome-wide data from the Guanches confirm a North African origin

    • The Guanches were genetically most similar to modern North African Berbers

    • Modern inhabitants of Gran Canaria carry an estimated 16%–31% Guanche autosomal ancestry


    The origins and genetic affinity of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands, commonly known as Guanches, are poorly understood. Though radiocarbon dates on archaeological remains such as charcoal, seeds, and domestic animal bones suggest that people have inhabited the islands since the 5th century BCE [1, 2, 3], it remains unclear how many times, and by whom, the islands were first settled [4, 5]. Previously published ancient DNA analyses of uniparental genetic markers have shown that the Guanches carried common North African Y chromosome markers (E-M81, E-M78, and J-M267) and mitochondrial lineages such as U6b, in addition to common Eurasian haplogroups [6, 7, 8]. These results are in agreement with some linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological data indicating an origin from a North African Berber-like population [1, 4, 9]. However, to date there are no published Guanche autosomal genomes to help elucidate and directly test this hypothesis. To resolve this, we generated the first genome-wide sequence data and mitochondrial genomes from eleven archaeological Guanche individuals originating from Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Five of the individuals (directly radiocarbon dated to a time transect spanning the 7th–11th centuries CE) yielded sufficient autosomal genome coverage (0.21× to 3.93×) for population genomic analysis. Our results show that the Guanches were genetically similar over time and that they display the greatest genetic affinity to extant Northwest Africans, strongly supporting the hypothesis of a Berber-like origin. We also estimate that the Guanches have contributed 16%–31% autosomal ancestry to modern Canary Islanders, here represented by two individuals from Gran Canaria."

    Sample Origin Molecular Sex Genome Coverage Mitochondrial Genome Coverage SNPs in HO Dataset Mitochondrial Haplotypes Y Chromosome Haplotypes C14Radiocarbon Date Before Present C14Radiocarbon Date, Calibrated Common Era Mitochondrial Contamination Estimate/Confidence interval
    gun002 Tenerife XY 0.21 294.7 74,618 H1cf E1b1b1b1a1 E-M183 951 ± 26 1089.4 ± 65.5 3.63%/2.42%–4.85%
    gun005 Gran Canaria XX 0.47 341.1 140,873 H2a NA 1082 ± 26 956 ± 61 2.41%/1.56%–3.27%
    gun008 Gran Canaria XX 0.30 690.9 101,216 L3b1a NA 1116 ± 26 935.5 ± 56.5 1.65%/1.35%–1.95%
    gun011 Tenerife XY 3.93 931.6 370,465 T2c1d2 E1b1b1b1a1 E-M183 1216 ± 27 791.5 ± 96.5 0.53%/0.38%–0.69%
    gun012 Tenerife XY 0.54 214.3 157,104 U6b1a E1b1b1b1a1 E-M183 1421 ± 28 621 ± 39 5.97%/4.22%–7.73%
    gun001 Tenerife XY 0.016 9.6 NA U6b1a NA NA NA NA
    gun004 Tenerife NA 0.004 49.98 NA J1c3 NA NA NA 5.76%/3.57%–7.95%
    gun006 Gran Canaria XY 0.027 12.21 NA L3b1a NA NA NA 6.60%/1.87%–11.33%
    gun007 Gran Canaria XY 0.003 3.47 NA L3b1a NA NA NA NA
    gun013 Tenerife NA 0.005 14.2 NA U6b1a NA NA NA 13.79%/1.24%–26.34%
    gun014 Tenerife XY 0.008 4.2 NA U6b NA NA NA NA

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    Guanche had EEF ancestry lacking in Berber populations, also made contact with Europeans before Spain

    "The results of the ADMIXTURE analysis furthermore show that the Guanches carried early European farmer (EEF)-like ancestry; this ancestry component is widespread (though at varying proportions) in present-day North Africans and Middle Easterners but rare or largely absent in some Berber populations (Figure 3). The EEF component is strongly associated with early Neolithic farmers from Anatolia and Europe (as well as present-day Sardinians), hinting at a possible link between present-day North Africans and the expansion of Neolithic culture through the Mediterranean [31, 32, 33], though it could also reflect post-Neolithic gene flow among Mediterranean groups [34]. The Guanches also appear to have carried varying proportions of Middle Eastern ancestry, best represented by the HO Bedouin_B population."

    "We also note that one Guanche individual (gun005) carried a greater proportion of hunter-gatherer (HG)-like ancestry than the other individuals, possibly suggesting low-level gene flow from a European source that predates the European conquest. Although our results are overall consistent with an origin from a single ancestral population in North Africa, the possible small-scale introgression from other sources postdating the earliest settling is consistent with archaeological finds of Phoenician-Punic amphora in Buena Vista (Lanzarote) and Roman amphora fragments retrieved from El Bebedero (Lanzarote), indicating that the islands (and local islanders) were in at least sporadic contact with other peoples and cultures prior to the European colonization in the 15th century CE [5]."

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    I think that Guanches were a similar "product" as that of the Chagossians

    that is, a dominating empire peoples an unhabited island with slaves or low-class people to get revenues. By that Guanches had not ships, they were sent by Carthaginians or Romans, with some Europeans also.
    "What I've seen so far after my entire career chasing Indoeuropeans is that our solutions look tissue thin and our problems still look monumental" J.P.Mallory

    "The ultimate homeland of the group [PIE] that also spread Anatolian languages is less clear." D. Reich

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