Biomolecular insights into North African-related ancestry, mobility and diet in eleventh-century Al-Andalus



Silva M, Oteo-García G, Martiniano R, Guimarães J, von Tersch M, Madour A, Shoeib T, Fichera A, Justeau P, Foody MGB, McGrath K, Barrachina A, Palomar V, Dulias K, Yau B, Gandini F, Clarke DJ, Rosa A, Brehm A, Flaquer A, Rito T, Olivieri A, Achilli A, Torroni A, Gómez-Carballa A, Salas A, Bryk J, Ditchfield PW, Alexander M, Pala M, Soares PA, Edwards CJ, Richards MB.


Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 13;11(1):18121. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95996-3.


Historical records document medieval immigration from North Africa to Iberia to create Islamic al-Andalus. Here, we present a low-coverage genome of an eleventh century CE man buried in an Islamic necropolis in Segorbe, near Valencia, Spain. Uniparental lineages indicate North African ancestry, but at the autosomal level he displays a mosaic of North African and European-like ancestries, distinct from any present-day population. Altogether, the genome-wide evidence, stable isotope results and the age of the burial indicate that his ancestry was ultimately a result of admixture between recently arrived Amazigh people (Berbers) and the population inhabiting the Peninsula prior to the Islamic conquest. We detect differences between our sample and a previously published group of contemporary individuals from Valencia, exemplifying how detailed, small-scale aDNA studies can illuminate fine-grained regional and temporal differences. His genome demonstrates how ancient DNA studies can capture portraits of past genetic variation that have been erased by later demographic shifts-in this case, most likely the seventeenth century CE expulsion of formerly Islamic communities as tolerance dissipated following the Reconquista by the Catholic kingdoms of the north. CI – © 2021. The Author(s).

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Link/DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-95996-3