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Genomes of Ethiopians and Egyptians help map the migration routes of humanity out of Africa

The researchers compared these genes to the genes of the Eurasians (which actually spread to the rest of the world) and came to the conclusion that the Egyptians were closer to them than the Ethiopians, therefore they ruled out the possibility that the migration was made through Egypt Bab el Mandab and the Arabian Peninsula, instead, it was made through Sinai

A genome sequence from 225 Ethiopians and Egyptians led to the fact that the exit from Africa was made through Egypt and from there humans spread to all of Eurasia. Illustration: Luca Pagani.
A genome sequence from 225 Ethiopians and Egyptians led to the fact that the exit from Africa was made through Egypt and from there humans spread to all of Eurasia. Illustration: Luca Pagani.

Although scientists are certain that all human groups living today have their roots in Africa, the route by which they left Africa is still unclear. A new study that analyzed the genomes of people currently living in Ethiopia and Egypt indicates that Egypt was the main route out of Africa and that the migration was on a northern route and not a more southern route.

The findings, published May 28 in the online version of the American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG), add a piece of information that helps researchers reconstruct the evolutionary past of humans.

In order to reveal the migration routes in which the ancestors of today's Europeans and Asians (residents of Eurasia) migrated when leaving Africa about 60 thousand years ago, Dr. Luca Pagani from the Sanger Institute of the Wellcome Trust and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and his colleagues analyzed genetic information from six animal populations in North East Africa of today - 100 Egyptians and 125 Ethiopians - 25 from each of five groups.

Two possible routes were proposed by the researchers - an exit through Egypt and Sinai, which is the more northern route or through Ethiopia, from Egypt to Bab al Mandav, the Arabian Peninsula, as mentioned a more southern route." Dr. Pagani explains.
In our study, we generated the first comparative series of unbiased genomic data of Northeast Africans and observed, after controlling for later migrations, more genetic similarity between Egyptians and Eurasians than between Ethiopians and Eurasians. "This means that Egypt was probably the last stop on the way out of Africa.
In addition to insight into the evolutionary past of all Eurasians, the researchers also developed a public catalog of the genomic diversity in Ethiopian and Egyptian populations. "The information will be valuable as a source for medical and anthropological studies in the future in these areas" says Dr. Pagani.

8 תגובות

  1. I agree with Roy, Egypt was conquered and inhabited by many conquerors, Hyksos (Canaanite people), Greeks, Romans, Arabs, in addition there were many waves of immigration to it because it was a source of food that did not depend on rainfall (because of the Nile), as well as Roy's comment on the place.
    Regarding the period when this happened, it is not relevant because the measurement was done by sequencing the genomes of living people, which means that they have undergone genetic mixing until today.
    The sentence "after neutralizing later migrations" is supposed to solve the problem, but as far as I understand it will not end it, because the researchers have no way of knowing who the original population is and who is the invader in many cases.
    For comparison, it's like taking a sample of 100 Americans and trying to understand the island
    There is a working assumption here that the Egyptians living in Egypt today are similar to those who lived there 60,000 years ago and this is simply not historically true. This assumption of work can only be on isolated populations and this is not the case.

  2. As others have commented here, there is a big problem with this study. Genetically, the Egyptians are closer to the Eurasian world, but also historically, for at least the last 5,000 years, if not longer, the Egyptians have been in contact with the Eurasian world much, much more than the Ethiopians.
    It is hard for me to assume that most of the migration out of Africa was through the Sahara desert. It is clear to me that he was not always speaking, but in terms of terrain conditions, fishing, etc. - it is clear that the route through Bab al-Mandab and along the coastlines of the Arabian Peninsula seem much more logical.

  3. Your question is legitimate Roy
    How do you really manage to differentiate between changes in genetic diversity due to Homo sapiens migration from a few tens of thousands of years ago and late changes in genetic diversity of the last few thousand years?
    (For example: the Roman conquest, the Nubian invasion and the Arab migration)
    How is "neutralization of late migrations" actually carried out?
    Anyone with a background in the field willing to volunteer an explanation?

  4. I didn't exactly understand the explanation - surely these are different periods, the problem is that the samples were taken today, after the mixing. In other words, if we had carried out the same test ten thousand years ago, or then perhaps we would have discovered a greater closeness of the Ethiopians to the Eurasian world, or at least the same degree of closeness between the two populations (and if the greater closeness observed today simply originates from a later mixing between the population between the more ancient Egyptian and a Eurasian population, and not the Egyptians being the previous link to the Eurasians)

  5. You are confusing different periods!
    The article talks about much earlier times compared to your example, your example talks about relatively modern times in comparison, see this link to understand the period:

    The spread of the intelligent man (Homo sapiens) began when he reached the Middle East about 70,000 years ago and from there to South Asia about 50,000 years ago and from there to Australia about 40,000 years ago and broke into areas that Homo erectus did not reach. The wise man reached Europe about 40,000 years ago and East Asia and North America about 30,000 years ago.

  6. But Egypt interacted with the non-African environment much more than Ethiopia, if only because of the Arab occupation (not to mention its location near the Mediterranean Sea, which allowed the invasion of the Sea Gentiles, etc.), so that the Egyptians of today are obviously the result of mixing between the original inhabitants of Egypt to the 'Eurasian' population. Does the original article ignore this or is it a missing summary?

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