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By Ewen Callaway and Nature magazine
A 4,500-year-old skeleton from a cave in Ethiopia has produced Africa’s first ancient human genome. The man’s DNA suggests that Middle Eastern farmers migrated into Africa several thousand years ago, leaving traces of their Eurasian ancestry in the genomes of many modern-day Africans.
Modern humans, Homo sapiens, emerged in Africa around 200,000 years ago, before populating nearly every corner of the planet. Proof of these travels is written in the genomes of people living today. DNA gleaned from ancient remains found in Europe, Asia and the Americas in recent years has added new twists to the human evolutionary story. Yet Africa has missed out on this DNA-based revolution, in part because genetic material degrades quickly in the hot temperatures of the continent.
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