The Francis Crick Institute
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Genome-scale sequencing and analysis of human, wolf, and bison DNA from 25,000-year-old sediment.

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-27, 11:23 authored by Pere Gelabert, Susanna Sawyer, Anders Bergström, Ashot Margaryan, Thomas C Collin, Tengiz Meshveliani, Anna Belfer-Cohen, David Lordkipanidze, Nino Jakeli, Zinovi Matskevich, Guy Bar-Oz, Daniel M Fernandes, Olivia Cheronet, Kadir T Özdoğan, Victoria Oberreiter, Robin NM Feeney, Mareike C Stahlschmidt, Pontus Skoglund, Ron Pinhasi
Cave sediments have been shown to preserve ancient DNA but so far have not yielded the genome-scale information of skeletal remains. We retrieved and analyzed human and mammalian nuclear and mitochondrial environmental "shotgun" genomes from a single 25,000-year-old Upper Paleolithic sediment sample from Satsurblia cave, western Georgia:first, a human environmental genome with substantial basal Eurasian ancestry, which was an ancestral component of the majority of post-Ice Age people in the Near East, North Africa, and parts of Europe; second, a wolf environmental genome that is basal to extant Eurasian wolves and dogs and represents a previously unknown, likely extinct, Caucasian lineage; and third, a European bison environmental genome that is basal to present-day populations, suggesting that population structure has been substantially reshaped since the Last Glacial Maximum. Our results provide new insights into the Late Pleistocene genetic histories of these three species and demonstrate that direct shotgun sequencing of sediment DNA, without target enrichment methods, can yield genome-wide data informative of ancestry and phylogenetic relationships.


Crick (Grant ID: 10595, Grant title: Skoglund FC001595) European Research Council (Grant ID: 852558, Grant title: ERC 852558 - AGRICON) Wellcome Trust (Grant ID: 217223/Z/19/Z, Grant title: WT 217223/Z/19/Z)