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New Thoughts on Ancient Middle Eastern Populations

Thursday, October 14, 2021

DOHA, QATAR—Live Science reports that Younes Mokrab of Sidra Medicine and his colleagues analyzed more than 6,000 genomes held in Qatari health databases and compared them with DNA from other living humans, and ancient human DNA recovered in Africa, Europe, and Asia. The study suggests that ancestors of Arabian Peninsula groups split from early Africans some 90,000 years ago, from ancestral Europeans about 42,000 years ago, and from ancestral South Asian populations some 32,000 years ago. DNA from Middle Eastern groups also spread through Europe, South Asia, and even South America with the rise and spread of Islam some 1,400 years ago, Mokrab added. “Arab ancestry is a key ancestral component in many modern populations,” he said. Within Arabia, ancestral groups split multiple times, perhaps as the climate dried and some groups became farmers in more fertile areas and others living in arid regions became nomads, Mokrab explained. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Nature Communications. To read about two women buried some 4,000 years ago in ancient Arabia, go to "A Place of Their Own."

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