Different waves and directions of Neolithic migrations in the Armenian Highland

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Abstract

Background: The peopling of Europe and the nature of the Neolithic agricultural migration as a primary issue in the modern human colonization of the globe is still widely debated. At present, much uncertainty is associated with the reconstruction of the routes of migration for the first farmers from the Near East. In this context, hospitable climatic conditions and the key geographic position of the Armenian Highland suggest that it may have served as a conduit for several waves of expansion of the first agriculturalists from the Near East to Europe and the North Caucasus. Results: Here, we assess Y-chromosomal distribution in six geographically distinct populations of Armenians that roughly represent the extent of historical Armenia. Using the general haplogroup structure and the specific lineages representing putative genetic markers of the Neolithic Revolution, haplogroups R1b1a2, J2, and G, we identify distinct patterns of genetic affinity between the populations of the Armenian Highland and the neighboring ones north and west from this area. Conclusions: Based on the results obtained, we suggest a new insight on the different routes and waves of Neolithic expansion of the first farmers through the Armenian Highland. We detected at least two principle migratory directions: (1) westward alongside the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and (2) northward to the North Caucasus.

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Hovhannisyan, A., Khachatryan, Z., Haber, M., Hrechdakian, P., Karafet, T., Zalloua, P., & Yepiskoposyan, L. (2014). Different waves and directions of Neolithic migrations in the Armenian Highland. Investigative Genetics, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13323-014-0015-6

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