Genetic history of Europe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The genetic history of Europe since the Upper Paleolithic is inseparable from that of wider Western Eurasia. By about 50,000 years ago (50 ka) a basal West Eurasian lineage had emerged (alongside a separate East Asian lineage) out of the undifferentiated "non-African" lineage of 70 ka.

The basal Western Eurasians were early exposed to significant Neanderthal admixture. Introgression of Neanderthal traits persisted in European populations into the present, affecting traits such as skin tone and hair color, height, sleeping patterns and mood.

European early modern humans (EEMH) lineages between 40 to 26 ka (Aurignacian) were still part of a large Western Eurasian "meta-population", related to Central and Western Asian populations. Divergence into genetically distinct sub-populations within Western Eurasia is a result of increased selection pressure and founder effects during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, Gravettian). By the end of the LGM, after 20 ka, A Western European lineage, dubbed West European Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) emerges from the Solutrean refugium during the European Mesolithic. These mesolithic hunter-gatherer cultures are substantially replaced in the Neolithic Revolution by the arrival of Early European Farmers (EEF) lineages derived from mesolithic populations of West Asia (Anatolia and the Caucasus).

In the European Bronze Age, there were again substantial population replacements in parts of Europe by the intrusion of Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) lineages from the Pontic–Caspian steppes. These Bronze Age population replacements are associated with the Beaker culture archaeologically and with the Indo-European expansion linguistically.

As a result of the population movements during the Mesolithic to Bronze Age, modern European populations are distinguished by their clinal differences in WHG, EEF and ANE ancestry.

Admixture rates varied geographically; in the late Neolithic, WHG ancestry in farmers in Hungary was at around 10%, in Germany around 25% and in Iberia as high as 50%.

Sardinians are characterized by almost pure derivation from EEF. The contribution of EEF is strongest in Mediterranean Europe, and declines towards northern and northeastern Europe, where WHG ancestry is stronger. ANE ancestry is found through throughout Europe, with maxima of about 20% found in Baltic people and Finns. WHG ancestry is also strongest in northeastern Europe, with contributions close to 50% found in the Baltic. Ethnogenesis of the modern ethnic groups of Europe in the historical period is associated with numerous admixture events, primiarily those associated with the Roman Empire, and the Germanic and Norse, Slavic, Arab and Turkish expansions.

Research into the genetic history of Europe became possible in the second half of the 20th century, but did not yield results with high resolution before the 1990s. In the 1990s, preliminary results became possible, but they remained mostly limited to studies of mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal lineages. Autosomal DNA became more easily accessible in the 2000s, and since the mid-2010s, results of previously unattainable resolution, many of them based on full-genome analysis of ancient DNA, have been published at an accelerated pace.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Genetic history of Europe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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