Landscape genetics: Peopling of the Caucasus
Previous studies have shown that post-glacial dispersal from human refugia and colonization has shaped up the current genetic structure of many human societies, yet it is not completely clear what temporal and spatial features are behind the current genetic structure of peoples of the Caucasus and explicitly how that relates to paleolithic and mesolithic populations throughout Eurasia and Africa.
Our research attempts 1) to link the current genetic structure of ethnic groups of the Caucasus to temporal and spatial distance from different paleolithic and mesolithic populations, and 2) thus to identify movement paths between the ancient refugial populations and the Caucasus. Based on genome-wide autosomal SNP profiles we test the genetic similarity between the ancient populations and the current peoples of the Caucasus in relation to different effective geographic distances between these populations for several paleolithic and mesolithic time intervals.
The study identifies the effect of ancient populations, the landscape complexity and permeability on genetic differentiation between current human populations in the Caucasus.