Rxivist logo

Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 64,897 bioRxiv papers from 287,634 authors.

The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia

By Vagheesh M Narasimhan, Nick Patterson, Priya Moorjani, Iosif Lazaridis, Mark Lipson, Swapan Mallick, Nadin Rohland, Rebecca Bernardos, Alexander M Kim, Nathan Nakatsuka, Iñigo Olalde, Alfredo Coppa, James Mallory, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Janet Monge, Luca M Olivieri, Nicole Adamski, Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht, Francesca Candilio, Olivia Cheronet, Brendan J Culleton, Matthew Ferry, Daniel Fernandes, Beatriz Gamarra, Daniel Gaudio, Mateja Hajdinjak, Éadaoin Harney, Thomas K Harper, Denise Keating, Ann Marie Lawson, Megan Michel, Mario Novak, Jonas Oppenheimer, Niraj Rai, Kendra Sirak, Viviane Slon, Kristin Stewardson, Zhao Zhang, Gaziz Akhatov, Anatoly N Bagashev, Bauryzhan Baitanayev, Gian Luca Bonora, Tatiana Chikisheva, Anatoly Derevianko, Enshin Dmitry, Katerina Douka, Nadezhda Dubova, Andrey Epimakhov, Suzanne Freilich, Dorian Fuller, Alexander Goryachev, Andrey Gromov, Bryan Hanks, Margaret Judd, Erlan Kazizov, Aleksander Khokhlov, Egor Kitov, Elena Kupriyanova, Pavel Kuznetsov, Donata Luiselli, Farhod Maksudov, Christopher Meiklejohn, Deborah Merrett, Roberto Micheli, Oleg Mochalov, Zahir Muhammed, Samariddin Mustafokulov, Ayushi Nayak, Rykun M Petrovna, Davide Pettener, Richard Potts, Dmitry Razhev, Stefania Sarno, Kulyan Sikhymbaeva, Sergey M Slepchenko, Nadezhda Stepanova, Svetlana Svyatko, Sergey Vasilyev, Massimo Vidale, Dmitriy Voyakin, Antonina Yermolayeva, Alisa Zubova, Vasant S Shinde, Carles Lalueza-Fox, Matthias Meyer, David Anthony, Nicole Boivin, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Douglas J. Kennett, Michael Frachetti, Ron Pinhasi, David Reich

Posted 31 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/292581 (published DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7487)

The genetic formation of Central and South Asian populations has been unclear because of an absence of ancient DNA. To address this gap, we generated genome-wide data from 362 ancient individuals, including the first from eastern Iran, Turan (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan), Bronze Age Kazakhstan, and South Asia. Our data reveal a complex set of genetic sources that ultimately combined to form the ancestry of South Asians today. We document a southward spread of genetic ancestry from the Eurasian Steppe, correlating with the archaeologically known expansion of pastoralist sites from the Steppe to Turan in the Middle Bronze Age (2300-1500 BCE). These Steppe communities mixed genetically with peoples of the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC) whom they encountered in Turan (primarily descendants of earlier agriculturalists of Iran), but there is no evidence that the main BMAC population contributed genetically to later South Asians. Instead, Steppe communities integrated farther south throughout the 2nd millennium BCE, and we show that they mixed with a more southern population that we document at multiple sites as outlier individuals exhibiting a distinctive mixture of ancestry related to Iranian agriculturalists and South Asian hunter-gathers. We call this group Indus Periphery because they were found at sites in cultural contact with the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) and along its northern fringe, and also because they were genetically similar to post-IVC groups in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. By co-analyzing ancient DNA and genomic data from diverse present-day South Asians, we show that Indus Periphery-related people are the single most important source of ancestry in South Asia — consistent with the idea that the Indus Periphery individuals are providing us with the first direct look at the ancestry of peoples of the IVC — and we develop a model for the formation of present-day South Asians in terms of the temporally and geographically proximate sources of Indus Periphery-related, Steppe, and local South Asian hunter-gatherer-related ancestry. Our results show how ancestry from the Steppe genetically linked Europe and South Asia in the Bronze Age, and identifies the populations that almost certainly were responsible for spreading Indo-European languages across much of Eurasia.

Download data

  • Downloaded 80,691 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 5 out of 64,897
    • In genomics: 1 out of 4,439
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 4 out of 64,897
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 33 out of 64,897

Altmetric data


Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)


News