This argument on whether Europeans descend mostly from Paleolithic aborigines or Neolithic immigrants is becoming ideological and going beyond the scientific issue of fact-checking and having different opinions. Actually facts are being selected and manipulated and interpretations are becoming truly incompatible.
What for me means that modern Central Europeans are clearly NOT direct descendants of Neolithic settlers, who had much greater abundance of rare lineages like N1a, means for Qiaomei Fu that they were indeed the ancestors.
Qiaomei Fu et al., Complete Mitochondrial Genomes Reveal Neolithic Expansion into Europe. PLoS ONE 2012. Open access.
Qiaomei Fu has recycled the Neolithic, Epipaleolithic and Forest Neolithic (said to be foragers but not really true) aDNA from Haak 2005 and 2010, Sampietro 2007, Bramanti 2009, Krause 2010, Deguilloux 2011, Lacan 2011 and Gamba 2011. See Jean Manco’s Ancient Eurasian DNA page for more details.
From the text, it appears that they are using here mostly Bramanti’s 2009 sample, with an extra sample from Krause (Kostenki’s U2). This may be justified up to a point because Bramanti has been one of the few to test for coding region markers, so most of the other samples haplogroup assignations are questionable (but they are often not U, which is clearly defined in the HVS-I mutational set). However the choice of discarding Italian data from Caramelli 2005, which clearly demonstrated R0(xH) in one sample and N* in another, is not justifiable on any grounds.
It is not justifiable either that no space is dedicated to discuss the sample, why did they chose these or those and why did they ignore the others. In such non-existent space they could have discussed the 19 known true Paleolithic European samples, not considered by them, that are definitely not U, even if we can’t know for sure (with some exceptions) what exactly they were.
In that space they could have also discussed why they chose to consider Forest Neolithic peoples from the Baltic as “hunter-gatherers” or how, excluding them their sample is reduced to n=11, of which all are U. Adding to these two more from Chandler 2005, the overall European true-Paleolithic mtDNA count is, if my maths are correct, n=32, of which 13 are U variants (six U5, four U4, two U* and one U2). As mentioned above 19 are something else than U and in some cases I am quite certain that it is H.
|The ‘forager’ sample: Red: true Paleolithic, Green: Forest Neolithic, Lemon: Forest Chalcolithic|
Another thing they have not considered is excluding repeated sequences located in the same necropolis, often the same tomb, surely meaning close relatives, which therefore should count as just one. They could also ponder that saying U as such is almost meaningless and that its subclades should be considered instead.
Not really as important as the huge blanks left by the survey and the significance of 19 true Paleolithic sequences which are not U (60%), most of which exist in the huge and most important areas left blank in this sample: West Europe, Italy, Balcans…
That alone should be enough to disqualify this paper as ideological junk.
But there is more: the Neolithic European samples are not considered in their local context, the Catalan samples are not compared with modern Catalans (bad fit) nor the German samples with modern Germans (another bad fit) but they are magically and conveniently pooled to make a pan-European set which more or less seems to fit with modern Europeans after some suspicious filtering they claim makes an unbiased dataset.
I have already wasted more than enough time in this piece of crap and really gets me angry: an academically qualified scholar like Fu, much more his mentor and co-author Svante Päbo should know better than pulling this ideological piece of propaganda.
Enough said unless the comments section demands something more.
See also: European ancient mtDNA maps page at this blog.