A genomic perspective on the spread of farming to Germany

Project term

03/2021 - 03/ 2024

Granted budget

no DZHK funding

Research resource used

DZHKomics resource


genomic diversity, epidemiology, palaeogenetics

Principal Investigator

Joachim Burger, Yoan Diekmann (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution, Palaeogenetics Group)

Even though evidence for migration from the broader Aegean region was found by multiple studies (Olalde et al. Kilinc et al. Hofmanova et al. 2016, Lazaridis et al. 2016), little is known about the demographic processes underlying the spread of farming. The generally low coverage and data quality of published genomes from an early Neolithic context prevented fine scaled demographic analysis so far.

To be able to investigate the underlying processes of the Neolithization of Central Europe, we produced and compiled a data set of full ancient genomes sequenced to at least 10X. By including samples from Western Anatolia and the Aegean regions, as well as from sites in Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Germany the data set was specifically designed to capture the spatio-temporal component of the expansion of farming along a Danubian corridor into Central Europe. The critical analysis that relies on the DZHK German genomes is the implementation of haplotype-based approaches (ChromoPainter and FineSTRUCTURE, Lawson et al. 2012) able to detect, quantify, and date admixture in large data sets. By ""painting"" the chromosomes of our ancient genomes as a mixture of a modern-day German and additional previously published genomes, we aim to reveal and understand the precise demographic events like migration, isolation, and admixing that shaped the early farming populations and their impact on modern day genomic diversity. The combination of state-of-the-art methods with high quality data from ancient individuals produced in our lab and modern German individuals from the DZHK will allow to paint a detailed and dynamic picture of the spread.


There are no publications available yet.