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Back-to-Africa Gene Flow Was Limited to Eastern Africa

Friday, January 29, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—Population geneticist Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge announced that he and his team made a mistake in the conclusions drawn from the comparison of the genome they obtained from the 4,500-year-old human remains found in Ethiopia’s Mota Cave, and the reference human genome. The paper claimed that traces of Eurasian ancestry, brought to Africa by farmers from the Middle East some 3,000 years ago, can be found in Ethiopian highlanders, West Africans, and the Mbuti of Central Africa. “The movement 3,000 years ago, or thereabouts, was limited to eastern Africa,” Manica told Nature News. Incompatibility between two software packages caused the error, first detected by Pontus Skoglund and David Reich of Harvard Medical School, who tried to duplicate the results. “Almost all of us agree there was some back-to-Africa gene flow, and it was a pretty big migration into East Africa. But it did not reach West and Central Africa, at least not in a detectable way,” Skoglund said. To read about early human forays out of Africa, go to "New Evidence for Mankind's Earliest Migrations."

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