Genomic and dietary discontinuities during the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Sicily

He Yu*, Marieke S. van de Loosdrecht, Marcello A. Mannino, Sahra Talamo, Adam B. Rohrlach, Ainash Childebayeva, Vanessa Villalba-Mouco, Franziska Aron, Guido Brandt, Marta Burri, Cäcilia Freund, Rita Radzeviciute, Raphaela Stahl, Antje Wissgott, Helen Fewlass, Antonio Tagliacozzo, Marcello Piperno, Sebastiano Tusa, Carmine Collina, Vittoria SchimmentiRosaria Di Salvo, Kay Prüfer, Cosimo Posth, Jean Jacques Hublin, Detlef Gronenborn, Didier Binder, Choongwon Jeong, Wolfgang Haak, Johannes Krause

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Sicily is a key region for understanding the agricultural transition in the Mediterranean because of its central position. Here, we present genomic and stable isotopic data for 19 prehistoric Sicilians covering the Mesolithic to Bronze Age periods (10,700–4,100 yBP). We find that Early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (HGs) from Sicily are a highly drifted lineage of the Early Holocene western European HGs, whereas Late Mesolithic HGs carry ∼20% ancestry related to northern and (south) eastern European HGs, indicating substantial gene flow. Early Neolithic farmers are genetically most similar to farmers from the Balkans and Greece, with only ∼7% of ancestry from local Mesolithic HGs. The genetic discontinuities during the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic match the changes in material culture and diet. Three outlying individuals dated to ∼8,000 yBP; however, suggest that hunter-gatherers interacted with incoming farmers at Grotta dell'Uzzo, resulting in a mixed economy and diet for a brief interlude at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104244
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological sciences
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Paleobiology
  • Paleogenetics


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