African genome sequenced for the first time

African genome sequenced for the first time

Is called Bayira which in the local Ethiopian language means “first born”And he is a human, anatomically modern, approximately 1.57 meters tall and about 54/55 kilos in weight. People say that lived more than 4,500 years ago in Mota cave, from the Ethiopian massif, where in 2012 some skeletal remains were found thanks to the help of different members of a local tribe, the Gamo.

Thanks to the genome sequencing there is a little more information about who he was as well as who his ancestors might have been. It is taken into account that five years ago the first complete ancient genome was sequenced, which belonged to an Arctic Eskimo

After the first phenotypic analyzes carried out from the DNA of the temporal bone of the skull, the Mota genome has shown that does not have any of the European characteristics, nor in relation to the color of the skin, the color of the eyes, nor those that give tolerance to lactose.

As explained by Marcos Gallego, a researcher at the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and one of the authors of this study, three DNA alleles are involved in adaptation to high altitudes, which shows that Bayirais a descendant of inhabitants who had some adaptation to life in the mountains in the Ethiopian massif, which led to population continuity in this area for a long period of time.

It is believed that those who are considered as modern human grandparents They left their original land in Africa and dispersed throughout Eurasia in great migrations, the first of which was about 130,000 years ago and the second about 50,000 years ago.

If we go back closer in time it is revealed that between about 6,000 and 8,000 years the inhabitants of the Middle East area arrived on the European continent and brought agriculture and livestock with them, causing a great change in European genetics. Thousands of years later, the descendants of these populations made the same journey, but in the opposite direction.

With the analysis of the ancient genome of this African, we are closer to what the Ethiopians about 4,500 years ago and it is revealed that Bayira is very similar to the inhabitants of the Ethiopian massif today, at least as far as genetics are concerned.

What it does not have is a Eurasian genetic component, possibly from the Middle East or Asia Minor, which is present in many modern African populations.

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Video: African Genomics Centre: State-of-the-art facility under construction in Cape Town