Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic


Corresponding author: Peter A. Underhill, Department of Genetics, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5120, Fax: 650 725 1534. phone: 650 723-5805. E-mail: under@stanford.edu


The earliest Neolithic sites of Europe are located in Crete and mainland Greece. A debate persists concerning whether these farmers originated in neighboring Anatolia and the role of maritime colonization. To address these issues 171 samples were collected from areas near three known early Neolithic settlements in Greece together with 193 samples from Crete. An analysis of Y-chromosome haplogroups determined that the samples from the Greek Neolithic sites showed strong affinity to Balkan data, while Crete shows affinity with central/Mediterranean Anatolia. Haplogroup J2b-M12 was frequent in Thessaly and Greek Macedonia while haplogroup J2a-M410 was scarce. Alternatively, Crete, like Anatolia showed a high frequency of J2a-M410 and a low frequency of J2b-M12. This dichotomy parallels archaeobotanical evidence, specifically that while bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is known from Neolithic Anatolia, Crete and southern Italy; it is absent from earliest Neolithic Greece. The expansion time of YSTR variation for haplogroup E3b1a2-V13, in the Peloponnese was consistent with an indigenous Mesolithic presence. In turn, two distinctive haplogroups, J2a1h-M319 and J2a1b1-M92, have demographic properties consistent with Bronze Age expansions in Crete, arguably from NW/W Anatolia and Syro-Palestine, while a later mainland (Mycenaean) contribution to Crete is indicated by relative frequencies of V13.