Phylogeographic analysis of barley DNA as evidence for the spread of Neolithic agriculture through Europe

G. Jones, H. Jones, M. P. Charles, M. K. Jones, S. Colledge, F. J. Leigh, D. A. Lister, Lydia M. J. Smith, W. Powell, T. A. Brown

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Results of analyses of the photoperiod response gene (PPD-H1) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) in modern landraces of cultivated barley were used as evidence for the mechanism of agricultural spread in Neolithic Europe. In particular, we explored the usefulness of considering adaptive genes as indicators of past selective pressures acting on crops, during their spread through Europe. In some areas, such as the Alpine region, Britain and Scandinavia, we have evidence to suggest that the adaptation of crops to certain climatic conditions may have contributed to the timing of agricultural spread. At the northern fringes of Europe, and in higher altitude locations in central Europe, the introduction of more suitably adapted cereals may have facilitated successful agriculture to trigger agricultural expansion. This research opens up the possibility of investigating other genetic adaptations to climate, which would permit a fuller evaluation of the relative contributions of climate/crop and forager/farmer interactions in the process of agricultural spread.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jun 2012


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