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HomeScienceGenetics has revealed the influence of ancient African empires on migration

Genetics has revealed the influence of ancient African empires on migration


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A new genetic study led by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals that traces of ancient empires that stretched across Africa are still present in the DNA of people living on the continent.

Posted in Science advancesA collaboration between geneticists at the University of London, who work alongside anthropologists, archaeologists, historians and linguists in Africa and beyond, has found evidence of different peoples admixture across the continent. Their findings suggest that migration is associated with vast empires such as Kanem-Bornu and the kingdoms of Aksum and Makuria, as well as the spread of the Bantu language group, now spoken by nearly one in four Africans.

Much of their study focused on Cameroon, where the researchers collected most of the genome, and showed that the central African country has about the same amount of genetic diversity by some measures as all of Europe.

Representing one of the most densely sampled studies of the African genome to date, the study used new genetic data from more than 1,300 individuals from 150 ethnic groups from across Africa (primarily Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan, plus some more in South Africa). . By comparing patterns of genetic variation between present-day people from different parts of Africa and elsewhere, they determined when admixture occurred between different ethnic groups, likely indicating relatively high migration at specific times and places.

The first author of the study, Ph.D. Candidate Nancy Beard (UCLA Institute of Genetics) said: “We found evidence that about 600 years ago people from North and East Africa were migrating into the area of ​​the Kanem-Borno empire, likely reflecting their huge influence on trade across Africa. Imperial historical records are poor, so it is exciting to show how it had such a wide geographical impact on the continent, possibly bringing in people from more than 1,000 kilometers away.”

The Kanem-Borno Empire, which covered present-day northern Cameroon and Chad, emerged around 700 AD and has existed for more than 1,000 years, at its height stretching nearly 2,000 kilometers across northern and central Africa. It had extensive trading networks linking North, East and West Africa, which has resulted in genetic traces from across the continent remaining in the DNA of today’s Cameroonian people.

The study also sheds light on the Kingdom of Aksum, which included northeastern Africa and southern Arabia in the first millennium, and was considered one of the four great powers in the world in the third century along with the contemporary empires of China, Persia and Rome, as well as the Kingdom of Makuria, which extended along the Nile River In Sudan between the fifth and sixteenth centuries, one of the longest lasting peace treaties in history was signed with the Egyptian Arab groups.

Nancy Bird said: “We see evidence of migrations from the Arabian Peninsula into Sudan during the reign of the Kingdom of Aksum, highlighting its importance as a world center some 1,500 years ago. We also see evidence of migration of Arab groups to Sudan via the Nile River, but more importantly, these The genetic signals arose almost entirely after the peace treaty between Makuria and Egypt began to fall apart.”

Moreover, while previous studies have highlighted the widespread genetic impact of the migration of Bantu speakers from Cameroon to eastern and southern Africa, this study provides compelling evidence that expansions may have also extended to the West, possibly linked to climate change.

Nancy Bird said: “There is some evidence from other researchers that climate change altered the environment around 3,000 years ago, reducing forest cover. This is consistent with the timing of some of the ancient migrations that we are finding indicates that climate change may be inciting or facilitating these large migrations.” – People’s movements.

Senior author Dr Garrett Hellenthal (UCLA Institute of Genetics) said: “The African continent has a massive and complex pre-colonial history that is often overlooked by Western approaches. The legacy of colonialism means that many events in African history have been obscured or lost sight of. baptized. This includes the scope and influence of historical African empires.”

The vast amount of genetic diversity revealed in this paper and other emerging studies highlights the vital importance of analyzing diverse African genomes from across the continent.

Dr Hellenthal added, “Despite the clear insights into medicine and human history that the study of the enormous genetic diversity found among African peoples can provide, African genomes have been and continue to be underrepresented in genetic studies compared to other regions of the world.”

Said co-author Dr. The ability to collect these samples and seek out interested collaborators.”

more information:
Nancy Bird et al., Dense sampling of ethnic groups within African countries reveals a subtle genetic structure and extensive historical admixture. Science advances (2023). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq2616. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abq2616

Provided by University College London

the quote: Genetics Revealed the Influence of Ancient African Empires on Migration (2023, March 29), Retrieved March 29, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-ancient-african-empires-impact-migration.html

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