Study: Modern Greeks’ DNA similar to Mycenaeans and Minoans

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Study: Modern Greeks’ DNA similar to Mycenaeans and MinoansThree-quarters of the DNA of the ancient Mycenaeans and the Minoans came from early farmers living in Greece and southwestern Anatolia

NEW YORK – According to a recent study of DNA from ancient Mycenaeans and Minoans, scientists have discovered that most of the genetic code is similar to that of modern Greeks. The findings were published in Nature: the International Journal of Science, and reported in Science magazine. Since Homer wrote his epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, Greeks have considered the Mycenaeans their ancestors. The fictitious Mycenaeans depicted in those epics, including the ill-fated King Agamemnon, may not have actually existed, but the real Mycenaeans, who built their civilization and dominated Greece and the Aegean Sea around 1600 BCE-1200 BCE, are in fact the ancestors of modern Greeks, as reported in Science magazine. Only a small part of modern Greek DNA is from later groups that migrated into the country, Science reported, adding that the Mycenaeans are also “closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 BCE- 1400 BCE.”

The DNA studied was “from the teeth of 19 people, including 10 Minoans from Crete dating to 2900 BCE to 1700 BCE, four Mycenaeans from the archaeological site at Mycenae and other cemeteries on the Greek mainland dating from 1700 BCE to 1200 BCE, and five people from other early farming or Bronze Age (5400 BCE to 1340 BCE) cultures in Greece and Turkey. By comparing 1.2 million letters of genetic code across these genomes to those of 334 other ancient people from around the world and 30 modern Greeks, the researchers were able to plot how the individuals were related to each other,” Science reported.

Three-quarters of the DNA of the ancient Mycenaeans and the Minoans came from early farmers living in Greece and southwestern Anatolia, now part of Turkey, with additional DNA from the eastern Caucasus, near present-day Iran which suggests, as Science reported, “an early migration of people from the east after the early farmers settled there but before Mycenaeans split from Minoans.”

The difference between the two groups is that the Mycenaeans had 4-16% of DNA of ancestors from Eastern Europe or Siberia. “This suggests that a second wave of people from the Eurasian steppe came to mainland Greece by way of Eastern Europe or Armenia, but didn’t reach Crete, says Iosif Lazaridis, a population geneticist at Harvard University who co-led the study,” Science reported.

The two civilizations carried genes for brown hair and brown eyes, so they resembled each other, as suggested by the paintings, frescoes and pottery, which survive from both cultures, but they “spoke and wrote different languages,” as noted in Science. The article also cited Lazaridis’ observations that “the Mycenaeans were more militaristic, with art replete with spears and images of war, whereas Minoan art showed few signs of warfare,” as reported in Science. Minoan script also used hieroglyphics which led some to believe there could be an Egyptian connection which was disproved by the study, Science reported.

“When the researchers compared the DNA of modern Greeks to that of ancient Mycenaeans, they found a lot of genetic overlap. Modern Greeks share similar proportions of DNA from the same ancestral sources as Mycenaeans, although they have inherited a little less DNA from ancient Anatolian farmers and a bit more DNA from later migrations to Greece,” Science wrote.

Co-author of the study George Stamatoyannopoulos of the University of Washington in Seattle commented on the “continuity between the Mycenaeans and living people” noting that it is “particularly striking given that the Aegean has been a crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years,” as quoted in Science.

The findings suggest that most of Greek DNA and that of most Europeans was therefore set in the Bronze Age. Archaeologist Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, though not involved in this particular study, told Science, “The spread of farming populations was the decisive moment when the major elements of the Greek population were already provided.”

Renfrew added, as reported in Science, that the findings of the study mean that ancient DNA can be found in “the hot, dry landscape of the eastern Mediterranean” and will allow scholars to study groups like the Hittites who arrived in Anatolia before 2000 BCE. The Hittites could be the source of the Mycenaeans’ Caucasian DNA and the early Indo-European languages of the area, Science reported.

Archaeologist Kristian Kristiansen of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, though not involved in the study, said, as quoted in Science, “The results have now opened up the next chapter in the genetic history of western Eurasia— that of the Bronze Age Mediterranean.”

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: Andreas Trepte License: CC-BY-SA

Source: thenationalherald.com

Tornos
  1. 21/06 19:34

    Balance of travel services in Greece: Arrivals grow but spending drops in Q1

  2. 21/06 19:20

    Athens Stock Exchange: 7th Hellenic Investment Forum in New York winds up

  3. 21/06 18:42

    Summer Nostos Festival draws crowds to the SNFCC in Athens

  4. 21/06 18:32

    Saving 1 million turtles worldwide by new global TUI Turtle Aid programme

  5. 21/06 16:24

    TUI: Greece second most popular destination in 2018 - the tourists who prefer it

  6. 21/06 14:35

    Marriott International Hotels gear up as water savvy Cape Town bounces back

  7. 21/06 12:22

    Air Traffic Controllers strikes destroy aviation and economies across Europe

  8. 21/06 10:05

    Travel report: Astypalaia, a Greek island that steals your heart

  9. 19/06 22:27

    Aegean Cuisine network ‘the ambassador of Cycladic islands gastronomy’

  10. 19/06 22:22

    Refugee Food Festival is coming to restaurants in Athens and Mytilene island

  11. 19/06 22:17

    Ambassador Pyatt: Strong support by the US for Greece's economic recovery

  12. 19/06 22:05

    Popular Greek singers performing across the country for summer 2018

  13. 19/06 21:51

    Art Athina 2018 opens at the Athens Conservatory on June 21

  14. 19/06 21:45

    Five applications for freight rail transport and logistics to Greece

  15. 19/06 21:32

    China showing great interest in Greek audiovisual sector and film tourism

  16. 19/06 21:22

    The Athens Acropolis Museum celebrates nine years of existence

  17. 19/06 18:51

    Lesvos island marks World Refugee Day with concerts by refugee children

  18. 19/06 18:44

    Greek island of Sifnos: A place filled with tasty memories

  19. 19/06 18:39

    President Kovind: Greece and India can boost bilateral trade to more than 1 billion

  20. 19/06 18:32

    Legendary Onassis yacht Christina O docks at Greece’s Piraeus port (video)

  21. 19/06 18:20

    Minister: Culture adds value to Greece's tourist product (video)

  22. 19/06 17:48

    Report: Symbolism of Greek statues in Beyoncé and Jay-Z Apesh*t clip (video)

  23. 19/06 17:37

    Prospect for strengthening tourist flows from India to Greece very high

  24. 19/06 17:04

    Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens redevelopment in full swing

  25. 19/06 16:59

    Singapore Airlines’ new Boeing 787-10 to serve Bali after July 2, 2018

  26. 19/06 14:49

    The top-5 countries with the highest demand for Greek golden visas

  27. 19/06 12:36

    ACI Europe: Traffic at Athens, Kefalonia and Corfu airports takes off

  28. 19/06 10:26

    Reuters: Dromeus Capital fund looking to invest in Greek commercial property

  29. 19/06 00:27

    Harvard Library acquires archive of iconic Greek poet Nikos Gatsos

  30. 19/06 00:21

    Media: DG Comp delay doubles offer for 20-year concession of Athens Airport

  31. 19/06 00:13

    Cyprus’ residents trips abroad rise by 1.7% during May 2018

  32. 19/06 00:06

    Land developer confident Helleniko project can commence construction in early 2019

  33. 18/06 23:58

    Tatler Travel Guide 2018: Two Greek hotels among the 101 best in the world

  34. 18/06 23:42

    Ryanair flight attendant dancing to Britney Spears' Toxic goes viral

  35. 18/06 22:45

    Report: The mystery of the Sleeping Giant in the Greek island of Naxos

  36. 18/06 21:17

    Indian President Ram Nath Kovind visits Greek capital of Athens

  37. 18/06 21:12

    Space Agrobox: Greek students find way to feed astronauts

  38. 18/06 21:03

    New York Times laud Athens as a rising cultural capital of Europe

  39. 18/06 20:06

    4th Annual Loukoumi Dance Party and Make A Difference Awards in New York

  40. 18/06 20:01

    Tourist arrivals in Cyprus up by 7.6% during May

  41. 18/06 19:55

    Summer Nostos Festival returns in Athens between June 17-24 (video)

  42. 18/06 19:40

    Arab resorts try to copycat Greece’s Cycladic island beauty

  43. 18/06 19:35

    Greek Investment Roadshow in the USA to take place between June 19-22

  44. 18/06 18:27

    Food-For-Good Festival in Kalamaria Thessaloniki a big hit

  45. 18/06 16:23

    Ancient Theatre of Aptera in Crete to reopen after 17 centuries of silence

  46. 18/06 14:19

    TUI report: Scaling positive change through sustainable tourism

  47. 18/06 12:09

    Olympic champion Stefanidi to participate in Athens Street Pole Vault event

  48. 18/06 10:02

    ABTA: 1 in 3 Brits travel abroad without checking advice about their holiday destination

  49. 15/06 21:19

    Religious Tourism: Exploring ancient Christian churches in Turkey

  50. 15/06 21:08

    Poll: 99% of women hate their partner wearing tight Speedos

  51. 15/06 20:37

    Alexandria’s Greek graves in Egypt form moving monument to Diaspora

  52. 15/06 20:30

    Cavo Paradiso club in Mykonos island celebrates 25th anniversary

  53. 15/06 18:26

    Bus work stoppages in Athens on Tuesday and Thursday

  54. 15/06 16:22

    New objective tax rates for property in Greece approved by finance ministry

  55. 15/06 14:17

    First run for trimaran Superspeed linking Thessaloniki with Sporades islands

  56. 15/06 12:06

    Rainy weather front to affect parts of Greece until Tuesday

  57. 15/06 10:00

    New Mykonos Art festival aims to redefine the popular island destination

  58. 15/06 00:04

    ESM approves 1 billion euros disbursement to Greece

  59. 14/06 23:49

    Nine of the most incredible insurance claims in the history of travel experiences

  60. 14/06 23:38

    Hellenic Heritage Foundation of Toronto celebrates 22nd Annual Gala

  61. 14/06 23:32

    Piraeus to receive €2 million in countervailing benefit from Cosco-run port

  62. 14/06 23:27

    Rich Indians turn to Cyprus for coveted European Union passports

  63. 14/06 20:56

    Bank of Greece: Apartment values down by 40% in the country since 2007

  64. 14/06 20:49

    Retracted and redone Med diet study shows same result: Good

  65. 14/06 20:47

    Athens city council and Mastercard to promote Greek capital abroad

  66. 14/06 20:18

    Sky Express starts flights to and from Chania in Crete and Athens

  67. 14/06 18:34

    Greek Tourism Minister highlights country's attractions for Russians

  68. 14/06 18:32

    Media report: Celebrities making their way to Greece for Summer 2018

  69. 14/06 16:03

    Manasis School in Australia dances “Zorba the Greek” at rugby game

  70. 14/06 14:56

    The Tiger Lillies tour Greece between June 19-24

  71. 14/06 10:33

    Airlines’ ‘hidden’ fees report: Better know before you go

  72. 14/06 01:49

    Guardian: Mykonos and Santorini among 10 classic European islands on a budget

  73. 14/06 01:40

    The essential guide to drinking Ouzo

  74. 14/06 01:34

    Andros island museum hosts tribute to expressionist Dimitris Mytaras

  75. 14/06 01:27

    Tourism, food and beverage sectors boost new hirings in May

  76. 14/06 01:18

    The full agreement between Greece and FYROM on name dispute in English

  77. 14/06 00:55

    The six best toilets in the 2018 International Toilet Tourism Awards

  78. 14/06 00:24

    Work stoppages to affect most transport means in Athens on Thursday

  79. 14/06 00:08

    All-night performance at Temple of Epicurean Apollo in Peloponnese

  80. 13/06 23:13

    Supplementary tax hike on Greek islands and Athens city center

  81. 13/06 22:07

    Tickets to travel to four European countries to 315 young Greeks

  82. 13/06 20:48

    Dior launches pop up store in Mykonos with exclusive Myconian collection

  83. 13/06 20:02

    Athens Taxi owners go again on strike over Uber return fears

  84. 13/06 19:42

    Expert presentation: The color and design of the Parthenon frieze

  85. 13/06 16:24

    Report: Tiffany Trump and Lindsay Lohan planning Mykonos trip together

  86. 13/06 12:52

    Russian Foreign Minister: Economic ties with Greece growing strongly

  87. 13/06 12:11

    Ryanair adds new route between Southend Airport and Corfu in Greece

  88. 13/06 01:43

    Ancient music experts accompany Ovid readings at National Museum in Athens

  89. 12/06 23:36

    96th Annual Kytherian Debutante Ball in Australia

  90. 12/06 22:32

    New high speed ferry to link Crete with Cyclades on daily basis

  91. 12/06 22:26

    Aristotle Menu: Eating like the Ancient Greek philosopher

  92. 12/06 19:23

    Acropolis Museum in Athens celebrates 9th year by embracing digital era

  93. 12/06 18:14

    Greece’s select wines return to Australia

  94. 12/06 16:10

    Unemployment in Greece drops to 20.1% in March thanks to tourism

  95. 12/06 14:59

    Media report: More upscale hotel additions across Greece

  96. 12/06 12:53

    Minister: New law puts Greece at forefront of EU green energy

  97. 12/06 01:18

    International Investment Awards to take place in Cyprus on 19 June

  98. 12/06 01:15

    New deals announced during Posidonia 2018 exhibition in Athens

  99. 12/06 01:11

    Athens tram terminal moves from SEF to Kallithea temporarily

  100. 12/06 00:57

    Cretan wedding with 69 Best Men and Maids of Honour and 3500 guests