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Farmers did it better

Study finds most European males are descendants of Near East farmers


 

Most men living in Europe today are descendants of farmers from the Near East going back 10,000 years, according to a new study by the University of Leicester. Researchers found that the Y chromosome, which gets passed from father to son, most common in European lineage—it’s carried by 110 million males—actually extends from the eastern Mediterranean coast to the Persian Gulf. The researchers say more than 80 per cent of European Y chromosomes come from these Near East farmer ancestors. By comparison, most maternal genetic descendants come from hunter-gatherers. They believe this means that, historically, farming males had a reproductive advantage over hunter-gatherer males. “Or, maybe back then, it was just sexier to be a farmer,” says one of the authors.

Public Library of Science


 
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Farmers did it better

  1. Back then? It is still the case.

    Or hasn’t the author heard the song “She thinks my tractor’s sexy”?

    I know I had to listen to it over and over and over again when my only options while doing fieldwork a few years ago and the only thing to listen to on the radio was country music and the CBC.

    • Save the Horse — Ride the Cowboy, buckeroo…

  2. Wait a sec — men give their X chromosomes to their daughters. A lot of daughters become mothers themselves. So these wild-oat-sowing Near East farmers' X's become maternal X chromosomes precisely one generation later. Exactly how, then, can anyone then tell us where "maternal chromosomes" historically come from?

    • Sons always get the Y chromosome from fathers: so my Y, my son's, brother's, and his son's Y, are pretty much identical matches to my father's Y and his Dad's and so on back, with small variations over time.

      You are right about the Xs being a different situation; but while Dad gives 23 chromosomes; Mom gives 23 chromosomes PLUS a whole big egg cell with LOTS of extra stuff to pass on (see Mom's really are special). Included in the egg are small but critical energy factories (called mitochondria) and each one of these has its own DNA packet that can only come from Mom.

      When we grow up, all of our energy factories with their unique DNA packets in all of our cells were inherited directly from our mothers, which came from her mother and so on back. By looking at those DNA bits scientists can track how your ancestral mothers compare to mine.

  3. Well, in case hunt was bad and it wasn't season of forest fruits, farmers had at least porridge to eat. Beside, farming supported much higher population density then hunting /gathering alone. Only, it strikes me as odd that those hunters did not switch to farming themselves. If there was exchange of females, knowledge existed and in those early farming communities, most of field work (apart from heavy spring digging) was carried by women.

  4. The answer is far easier than anything suggested so far.

    Back when all the hunter/gatherers were out hunting and gathering who do you think were around to pay attention to the women and keep them all warm and cared for and stuff?

  5. And by "pay attention" I mean "pay attention!"

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