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The recent study revealed, when agriculture flourished across Europe, the practitioners remain lactose intolerant while the consumption of milk and dairy products from domestic animals became trite. The researchers from University College Dublin studied the ancient DNA extracted from the skulls that dated from 5700 BC to 800 BC and revealed that the Europeans carried the genes for lactose intolerance. The findings of the study illustrating the genetic changes that lag behind the cultural shifts is published in Nature Communications Journal on 21st October.
Daniel Bradley, co-author of the study told the Washington Post, “The genome do appear to shift as new technologies come around. You can’t look at this and think that farming and metallurgy are technologies that come into the culture by osmosis. They come with people. Genomes and technology migrate together.”
Besides the new insights they gathered concerning the genetic makeup of the ancient Europeans, the researchers of the study also contributed to the procedural methodological development of extracting useable ancient DNA by learning that the skull’s petrous bones are perfect for such analyses. Ron Pinhasi, co-author of the study from the UCD Earth Institute and UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin stated, “The increased percentage DNA yield from the petrous bones exceeded those from other bones by up to 183-fold. This gave us anywhere between 12% and almost 90% human DNA in our samples compared to somewhere between 0% and 20% obtained from teeth, fingers and rib bones.”