Neolithic genomes reveal a distinct ancient HLA allele pool and population transformation in Europe


Alexander Immel, Christoph Rinne, John Meadows, Rodrigo Barquera, András Szolek, Federica Pierini, Julian Susat, Lisa Böhme, Janina Dose, Joanna Bonczarowska, Clara Drummer, Katharina Fuchs, David Ellinghaus, Jan Christian Kässens, Martin Furholt, Oliver Kohlbacher, Sabine Schade-Lindig, Iain Mathieson, Andre Franke, Johannes Krause, Johannes Müller, Tobias Lenz, Almut Nebel, Ben Krause-Kyora

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The Wartberg culture (WBC, 3,500-2,800 BCE) dates to the Late Neolithic period, a time of important demographic and cultural transformations in western Europe. We perform a genome-wide analysis of 42 individuals who were interred in a WBC collective burial in Niedertiefenbach, Germany (3,300-3,200 cal. BCE). Our results highlight that the Niedertiefenbach population indeed emerged at the beginning of the WBC. This farming community was genetically heterogeneous and carried a surprisingly large hunter-gatherer ancestry component (40%). We detect considerable differences in the human leukocyte antigen gene pool between contemporary Europeans and the Niedertiefenbach individuals whose immune response was primarily geared towards defending viral infections.