Paper Chase

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Oct 17, 2019 179 (3) 729-735.e10
Vol. 179, Issue 3, Medline Page 729-735.e10

An Ancient Harappan Genome Lacks Ancestry from Steppe Pastoralists or Iranian Farmers.

Authors: Shinde V, Narasimhan VM, Rohland N, Mallick S, Mah M, Lipson M, Nakatsuka N, Adamski N, Broomandkhoshbacht N, Ferry M, Lawson AM, Michel M, Oppenheimer J, Stewardson K, Jadhav N, Kim YJ, Chatterjee M, Munshi A, Panyam A, Waghmare P, Yadav Y, Patel H, Kaushik A, Thangaraj K, Meyer M, Patterson N, Rai N, Reich D
We report an ancient genome from the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC). The individual we sequenced fits as a mixture of people related to ancient Iranians (the largest component) and Southeast Asian hunter-gatherers, a unique profile that matches ancient DNA from 11 genetic outliers from sites in Iran and Turkmenistan in cultural communication with the IVC. These individuals had little if any Steppe pastoralist-derived ancestry, showing that it was not ubiquitous in northwest South Asia during the IVC as it is today. The Iranian-related ancestry in the IVC derives from a lineage leading to early Iranian farmers, herders, and hunter-gatherers before their ancestors separated, contradicting the hypothesis that the shared ancestry between early Iranians and South Asians reflects a large-scale spread of western Iranian farmers east. Instead, sampled ancient genomes from the Iranian plateau and IVC descend from different groups of hunter-gatherers who began farming without being connected by substantial movement of people.