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Neolithic Human DNA Analysis Reveals Modern Korean's Genetic Roots

By February 28, 2017 at 9:09 am
DNA analysis reveals modern Korean's genetic roots (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

A study that analyzed human DNA from the Neolithic era has found the genetic roots of modern Koreans. The research was done by the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST).

The researchers who conducted the study were from the University of Cambridge, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Korea and Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin in Ireland. They studied ancient DNA which was extracted from human remains that were buried almost 8,000 years ago.

They collected the DNA samples from a cave called "Devil's Gate" in eastern Russia, Korea Times reported. UNIST said that this is the first analysis done on an ancient genome collected from East Asia.

The study was published in the journal "Science Advances." It found that there was no significant migratory interruption or "population turnover" for over seven millennia. With this, some contemporary ethnic groups still share a genetic similarity to their Stone Age ancestors.

Deemed as "high genetic continuity," this phenomenon in East Asia is opposite of what happened to most of Western Europe were the migrations of early farmers from the Levant overpowered the hunter-gatherer populations. Moreover, during the Bronze Age, this was followed by horse riders from Central Asia, which was most likely motivated by the success of agriculture and metallurgy.

This new research points to evidence that, in East Asia, there is a little genetic disruption in populations ever since the early phases of the Neolithic period. The Ulchi people of the Amur Basin, located in the proximity of Russian borders for China and North Korea, and the ancient hunter-gatherers whose remains are buried in a cave close to the Ulchi's home.

"This matches not only the migration of genes but also thousands of years of history," Jong Bhak, who led the research team and is a biomedical engineering professor at the Genomic Institute, said. "This is biological evidence that definitely explains the creation of Koreans' roots and the consequences."

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