Arqueogenética: por uma 'Nova Síntese'?

terça-feira, fevereiro 23, 2010

Current Biology, Volume 20, Issue 4, R162-R165, 23 February 2010


Guest Editorial
Archaeogenetics — Towards a ‘New Synthesis’?

Colin Renfrew
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3ER, UK


It seems a timely moment to review human population history of the five continents as it emerges from recent archaeogenetic studies, as summarised in the reviews of this special issue of Current Biology. Has the ‘new synthesis’ — between genetics, archaeology and linguistics — arrived which I, perhaps incautiously, heralded a few years ago [1]? These highly informative reviews document, it seems to me, both achievement and uncertainty: the achievement relates to the remarkably consistent picture which has now emerged about the out-of-Africa emergence of our own species Homo sapiens and the initial peopling of the Earth. The uncertainty involves the application of archaeogenetics to the more recent, Holocene period, when most of the planet was already peopled — except much of Oceania — and sedentary, farming-based communities emerged. Here, it appears that much of our current understanding still depends on archaeological or, sometimes, linguistic evidence. And, with a few exceptions, the archaeogenetic evidence has not yet been assimilated into a genuine synthesis; but, let us begin with the good news.