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The Demographic Development of the First Farmers in Anatolia

Kilinc, Gulsah Merve
Omrak, Ayca
Ozer, Fusun
Gunther, Torsten
Bicakci, Erhan
Baird, Douglas
Donertas, Handan Melike
Ghalichi, Ayshin
Yaka, Reyhan
Koptekin, Dilek
Acan, Sinan Can
Parvizi, Poorya
Krzewinska, Maja
Daskalaki, Evangelia A.
Yuncu, Eren
Dagtas, Nihan Dilsad
Fairbairn, Andrew
Pearson, Jessica
Mustafaoglu, Gokhan
Cakan, Yasin Gokhan
Somel, Mehmet
Stora, Jan
Jakobsson, Mattias
Gotherstrom, Anders
The archaeological documentation of the development of sedentary farming societies in Anatolia is not yet mirrored by a genetic understanding of the human populations involved, in contrast to the spread of farming in Europe [1-3]. Sedentary farming communities emerged in parts of the Fertile Crescent during the tenth millennium and early ninth millennium calibrated (cal) BC and had appeared in central Anatolia by 8300 cal BC [4]. Farming spread into west Anatolia by the early seventh millennium cal BC and quasi-synchronously into Europe, although the timing and process of this movement remain unclear. Using genome sequence data that we generated from nine central Anatolian Neolithic individuals, we studied the transition period from early Aceramic (Pre-Pottery) to the later Pottery Neolithic, when farming expanded west of the Fertile Crescent. We find that genetic diversity in the earliest farmers was conspicuously low, on a par with European foraging groups. With the advent of the Pottery Neolithic, genetic variation within societies reached levels later found in early European farmers. Our results confirm that the earliest Neolithic central Anatolians belonged to the same gene pool as the first Neolithic migrants spreading into Europe. Further, genetic affinities between later Anatolian farmers and fourth to third millennium BC Chalcolithic south Europeans suggest an additional wave of Anatolian migrants, after the initial Neolithic spread but before the Yamnaya-related migrations. We propose that the earliest farming societies demographically resembled foragers and that only after regional gene flow and rising heterogeneity did the farming population expansions into Europe occur.