Re­searchers un­cover pe­cu­liar di­ver­sity in Tianyuan cave­man

Global Times - Weekend - - NATION - Global Times

Genome data from a 40,000-year-old man un­earthed in Bei­jing shows a sur­pris­ing di­ver­sity of the peo­ple liv­ing in the re­gion and their com­plex ge­netic con­nec­tions to other con­ti­nents, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished in an in­ter­na­tional jour­nal on Fri­day.

Even though “Tianyuan man” was an an­cient East Asian, he is not the di­rect an­ces­tor of peo­ple in the re­gion, which shows the mul­ti­plic­ity of Asian groups 40,000 years ago, the Bei­jing-based re­searchers found.

Us­ing ad­vanced se­quenc­ing tech­niques, a team led by Pro­fes­sor Fu Qiaomei of the In­sti­tute of Ver­te­brate Pa­le­on­tol­ogy and Pa­le­oan­thro­pol­ogy at the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences re­trieved DNA from the bones of a man who died in Tianyuan Cave in Fang­shan dis­trict 40,000 years ago, ac­cord­ing to a re­port on the in­sti­tu­tion’s of­fi­cial web­site.

The find was in­tro­duced in “40,000-Year-Old In­di­vid­ual from Asia Pro­vides In­sight into Early Pop­u­la­tion Struc­ture in Eura­sia” pub­lished in Cur­rent Bi­ol­ogy on Fri­day.

How­ever, the cur­rent genome is not com­plete and lacks gene frag­ments, Fu was quoted as say­ing by Shang­hai-based news web­site thep­a­ on Thurs­day.

The study sug­gests that the Fang­shan cave­man is ge­net­i­cally con­nected to an an­cient Euro­pean from Bel­gium of 35,000 years ago, a con­nec­tion not found in other an­cient Euro­peans’ sam­ples.

There­fore, it is “very pos­si­ble” Tianyuan man had gene com­mu­ni­ca­tion with an un­known group re­lated to the an­cient man of Bel­gium, show­ing the com­plex ge­netic his­tory of Asians and Euro­peans, the in­sti­tute re­ported.

Tianyuan man also pos­sesses ge­netic sim­i­lar­i­ties to South Amer­i­cans in line with other in­ter­na­tional find­ings, the study found.

The Tianyuan man marks the ear­li­est an­cient DNA from East Asia and the first an­cient genome-wide data from China, ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tu­tion web­site re­port.

An­cient hu­mans have been se­quenced in Europe and Siberia, but few have been se­quenced from East Asia, par­tic­u­larly China, where the arche­o­log­i­cal record shows a rich his­tory for early mod­ern hu­mans.

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