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EVIDENCE FOR THE INCREASE OF THE GENETIC RISK FOR PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS IN EURASIA DURING NEOLITHIC PERIOD, BRONZE AGE AND AFTER IRON AGE

Septembrie 30, 2017

I revisited the very interesting paper of Berens (2017) concerning the genomic health of ancient humans and I found:

1. Between 2 non-human Upper Paleolithic hominins that lived between 50,300 and 40,000 BP (Neanderthal and Denisovan), only one (the Neanderthal) had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 50%.

2. Between 5 European Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers (37,500-13,200), only one (the most recent, Satsurblia, 13,200 BP) had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 20%.

3. Between 11 European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (9700-7600 BP), only 2 had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 18%.

4. Between all the 20 Paleolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (excepting Neanderthal and Denisovan), 5 had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 25%.

5. Between 20 Anatolian Farmers, one farmer from Levant and one farmer from Iran that lived between 9000 and 8000 BP, 5 had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 23%.

6. Between the other 33 Eurasian Neolithic farmers, that lived before Bronze Age (between 8000BP and 5000 BP), 12 had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 36.4%.

7. Between 63 Eurasian farmers and pastoralists that lived during Bronze Age (between 5000 BP and 2800 BP), 23 had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 36.5%.

8. Between 6 Eurasians that lived during Iron Age (after 2800 BP), only one had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 17%.

9. The only Early modern period sample (I1955, 430 BP) had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 100%.

10. Between 144 modern humans that lived before Middle Ages, 47 had a POLY_PSY above average of today humans. It means 33%.

It is evident it was an increase of POLY_PSY because it was a positive selection for high POLY_PSY in Eurasia during Neolithic period. It means rare alleles that favor psychiatric disorders increased during Neolithic period too. Also, the genetic risk for psychiatric disorders increased during Bronze Age too, due of de novo mutations, because there was not selection against POLY_PSY. Probably many of these rare alleles and de novo mutations favor low intelligence too, like many of common alleles of POLY_PSY.

During Iron Age it seems there was a selection against the genetic risk for psychiatric disorders, and POLY_PSY reached the low Mesolithic levels.

Since Iron Age, there was a positive selection for high POLY_PSY, that is higher today even than during Neolithic period and Bronze Age.

It is possible the real percentages of Mesolithic and Iron Age Eurasian populations were higher than for these samples, because the samples for both periods lived at higher latitudes, in colder climates, and it is expected they had higher intelligence and better mental health than their contemporaries more Southern populations.

 

PS. The samples of Berens et al. (2017) can be downloaded here:  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol_preprints/115/

 

REFERENCE

Berens, A.J. et al. (2017) The genomic health of ancient hominins. bioRxiv doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/145193 .

 

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