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Fertile Farmers

January 20, 2010, 5:56 AM
A new report going back 10,000 years found most of today’s European men are genetically linked to farmers which suggests farmers were more attractive than hunter gatherers. “In a PloS Biology study released Tuesday and led by geneticist Patricia Balaresque of England's University of Leicester, researchers examined modern European men's genes to see how the continent was settled. Farms spread slowly across Europe, archaeological works shows, starting from the Fertile Crescent in today's Iraq and Syria and reaching Ireland by about 6,000 years ago. Scholars have debated whether early farmer populations moved in or whether farming was taken up by existing people in this agricultural revolution. The question is whether prehistoric people had a culture that could share farming technology. In the study, the researchers looked at 840 men's ‘Y’ chromosomes for a gene carried today by 110 million European men and, of course, many modern-day Americans. The geographical distribution of small differences in this gene helps shed light on the research, says Balaresque's colleague Mark Jobling, the study's senior author.”

Fertile Farmers

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