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Type: Journal article
Title: Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon genomes from East England reveal British migration history
Author: Schiffels, S.
Haak, W.
Paajanen, P.
Llamas, B.
Popescu, E.
Loe, L.
Clarke, R.
Lyons, A.
Mortimer, R.
Sayer, D.
Tyler-Smith, C.
Cooper, A.
Durbin, R.
Citation: Nature Communications, 2016; 7:10408-1-10408-9
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 2041-1723
Statement of
Stephan Schiffels, w, Wolfgang Haak, w, Pirita Paajanen, w, Bastien Llamas, Elizabeth Popescu, Louise Loe, Rachel Clarke, Alice Lyons, Richard Mortimer, Duncan Sayer, Chris Tyler-Smith, Alan Cooper and Richard Durbin
Abstract: British population history has been shaped by a series of immigrations, including the early Anglo-Saxon migrations after 400 CE. It remains an open question how these events affected the genetic composition of the current British population. Here, we present whole-genome sequences from 10 individuals excavated close to Cambridge in the East of England, ranging from the late Iron Age to the middle Anglo-Saxon period. By analysing shared rare variants with hundreds of modern samples from Britain and Europe, we estimate that on average the contemporary East English population derives 38% of its ancestry from Anglo-Saxon migrations. We gain further insight with a new method, rarecoal, which infers population history and identifies fine-scale genetic ancestry from rare variants. Using rarecoal we find that the Anglo-Saxon samples are closely related to modern Dutch and Danish populations, while the Iron Age samples share ancestors with multiple Northern European populations including Britain.
Keywords: Genome, Human
Description: Published 19 January 2016
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
RMID: 0030041985
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10408
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Australian Centre for Ancient DNA publications

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