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The article Bronze Age Eurasian Population Genomics was publicized in the prestigious scientific journal Nature in June, presenting the findings of the international research project on the genetic testing results generated over the past few years.
Vilnius University's archaeologist among co-authors in Nature
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Algimantas Merkevičius, associated professor at the Department of Archaeology of Vilnius University (VU) History Faculty, is one of the co-authors of the article.

According to Merkevičius, "the research team applied new, improved methods to sequence low-coverage genomes from 101 ancient humans from across Eurasia: Northern Italy, Central and Northern Europe, the region between the Black and Caspian Sea, regions to the north and east of the latter, around the Ural Mountains and Siberia. The ancient samples of the Eastern Baltic region population from Estonia and Lithuania have been included as well. New genetic research technology and methodology enabled us to obtain a wide range, fairly reliable information about the ancient inhabitants."

The team demonstrates that the Bronze Age (around 3,000-1,000 BC) was a highly dynamic period involving large-scale population migration and replacements, responsible for shaping major parts of present-day demographic structure in both Europe and Asia. The findings are consistent with the hypothesized spread of Indo-European languages during the Early Bronze Age. The researchers also demonstrate that light skin pigmentation in Europeans was already present at high frequency in the Bronze Age, but not lactose tolerance, indicating a more recent onset of positive selection on lactose tolerance than previously thought.

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