News in Brief

Highlights from the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting

A collection of reports from the conference, held November 6-10 in San Francisco

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2:09pm, November 14, 2012

Iceman’s Sardinian ties explained
When the genetic makeup of the 5,300-year-old mummy known as Ötzi was revealed earlier this year, scientists were surprised that his DNA suggests his modern-day relatives live in Sardinia instead of near the border of Austria and Italy where his frozen corpse was found. Analyses of DNA from present-day Europeans and remains of five other ancient people suggest that the Iceman wasn’t just a tourist from Sardinia. Instead he was probably part of a wave of migration of farmers into Europe, Martin Sikora of Stanford University reported November 8. Ötzi shares a more similar genetic makeup with a 5,000-year-old Swedish farmer and a 2,500-year-old Bulgarian than he does with hunter-gatherers from Sweden and the Iberian peninsula. The finding indicates that the spread of agriculture involved the people too, not just ideas, Sikora said.

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