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Frequently asked questions

North America and Central America


The North and Central America cluster consists of present day Native American populations that span from southeastern Alaska down through the western half of the United States and end approximately between Nicaragua and Panama. Populations within this cluster are descendants of the first migrations from Siberia that moved into the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge roughly 15,000–23,000 years ago.




South America


The South American genetic cluster is found in present day Native populations who inhabit Cuba, the Caribbean islands, the regions south of Nicaragua down to Argentina. Groups in the South America cluster are descendants of the Early Siberian populations who came across the Bering Land Bridge connecting North East Asia with Alaska around 15,000–23,000 years ago. These groups migrated south and split into two groups roughly 13,000 years ago. The first of these groups stayed in the regions of North and Central America while the second group moved into the South American region.




British Isles


Covers the modern day regions of Great Britain and Ireland. These groups are closely related to populations in the Southeastern Europe, Scandinavian, and Western and Central European genetic clusters. Anatomically modern humans arrived on the British Isles around 40,000 years ago by crossing a land bridge which connected this region to continental Europe. Early hunter-gatherer populations were able to move freely throughout this area until around 6000 BCE when melting ice sheets induced a rise in global sea levels erasing the land connection between the British Isles and mainland Europe. Due to extensive trade with surrounding areas, admixture occurred between these populations, further creating genetic connections with populations in the West and Central Europe cluster and areas of Scandinavia.




Scandinavia


The Scandinavia cluster consists of present day Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Due to the remaining ice sheets from the last Ice Age, modern humans did not permanently settle in this region until roughly 9000 BCE. During this time, Denmark and Sweden were connected via a land bridge that enabled migration from continental Europe to the Scandinavian Peninsula roughly 13,000 years ago.These early hunter-gatherer populations settled along the waterways—lakes, marshes, and rivers. By around 2500 BCE, local groups in this region had started farming and subsequently created robust trade connections with continental European groups. These were particularly strong with populations along the Danube River basin ranging from modern day Moldova, south to the Roman Empire, and west to the area which would become Germany.




Finland


Throughout Finland’s history, the populations within this region were mainly isolated and retained a degree of unique culture which wasn't affected by invading populations. However, clear genetic links can be seen with Finnish populations and surrounding Scandinavian and Russian populations due to the prior invasions and periods of occupation.




Western and Central Europe


The West and Central Europe cluster consists of present day countries of France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany. Modern humans began to populate West and Central Europe after the end of the last Ice Age and retreat of the ice sheets. This genetic region saw gradual expansion and exchange with almost all of the major European genetic groups.




Southeastern Europe


The Southeastern Europe cluster consists of present day populations from the areas of Italy, Greece, and the western Balkan states from Bulgaria to Croatia. Modern populations in the Southeast Europe genetic cluster show some of the highest rates of genetic relatedness to the second wave of migrants into Europe at around 11,000 years ago. This region gradually increased trade and migration with other Mediterranean regions and shows clear genetic links to both northern European populations and populations within Asia Minor, North Africa, and the Western Middle East region.




Eastern Europe


The Eastern European genetic region consists of an area which encompasses modern day Latvia, south to Ukraine, Romania, and the northern part of Bulgaria, west along the eastern edge of the Balkan states to Poland and the eastern half of Germany. The East Europe cluster sits on two prominent trade routes, which resulted in a high degree of migration. The genes of populations within this group were shaped by the water trade routes from Scandinavia and from the Baltic to the Black Sea. This region is also somewhat inclusive of populations from the Steppe region, connecting Eastern Europe to Russia, Asia Minor, and the Eastern Middle East.




Iberia


The Iberia cluster consists of present day Spain and Portugal. This group shares a common genetic heritage with parts of Western and Central Europe, the British Isles, Southeast Europe due to the settlement of Germanic and Celtic tribes. Modern day populations throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean also share a strong genetic heritage from the Iberia genetic cluster.




Western Middle East


The Western Middle Eastern genetic group is composed of present day populations from regions along the Eastern border of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. Humans within the West Middle East and East Middle East clusters were among the first groups to migrate out of the African continent at around 100,000 years ago.




Eastern Middle East


The East Middle East cluster consists of regions that range from the southern coast of the Caspian Sea in Iran to Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Modern humans arrived in this region roughly 100,000 years ago and established several civilizations in the Mesopotamian region.




Asia Minor


The Asia Minor genetic cluster encompasses modern day Turkey and Armenia. Due to extensive trade, they share high genetic interrelatedness with populations throughout the Mediterranean, specifically the Western Middle East, the Balkans, Greece, and Southern Italy.




North Africa


The North African genetic cluster is comprised of present day populations in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. Due to the Atlas mountain range that runs through, the North Africa cluster remained geographically separated from other African regions for most of its past.




Eastern Central Africa


The East Central African genetic cluster consists of populations from present day Ethiopia, the southern region of Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia,Tanzania, and the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Humans have inhabited this region for millenia, and groups specifically in the region of Lake Victoria experienced a large amount of growth when conditions became favorable for farming settlements around 1000 CE. Throughout history, huge amounts of trade were seen between this region and areas of South Asia, China, the Middle East, and Rome.




South Central Africa


The South Central Africa cluster consists of present day South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, and the southern half of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to inhospitable conditions prior to the beginning of the common era, hunter gatherer tribes predominated within this region. These were pushed out at around 100,000 BCE by nomadic pastoralists. Gradually, farming and iron working developed and large civilizations such as Great Zimbabwe were formed which traded with cities throughout Asia and the Middle East.




West Africa


The West Africa cluster spans the western coast of Africa, including present day Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Sierra Leone, and several other countries. A large expansion of Bantu groups from this region into other African regions solidified a change between a pastoral lifestyle and settlements based on farming and iron working practices. Urbanization and trade subsequently spread, allowing for the spread of genes into Southern and Eastern African regions. Due to later migration of West African populations, many countries throughout North America, South America, and the Caribbean now share strong genetic links to these populations.




Northern South Asia


The Central Asia cluster consists of present day Pakistan, Kashmir, Northern India, and Western Nepal. Artifacts predating 45,000 years ago which indicate human settlement have been found in this area, and trade with neighboring regions allowed for several large civilizations to grow throughout this region. Until around 4,200 years ago, this region was genetically mainly separated from populations in the southern Indian region and instead closer to other neighboring genetic populations. However, modern day South Asian populations now share an admixture between these ancient ancestral north and south Indian populations.




Southern South Asia


The Southern South Asian genetic region is comprised of present day Southern India and Sri Lanka. Until around the 6th century BCE, peninsular India and Sri Lanka were connected by land, allowing modern humans to migrate into both areas at around 34,000 years ago. Due to migration, these areas also share close genetic affinity with modern day Melanesian groups.




Siberia


Humans migrated into the region which now encompasses Siberia at around 40,000 years ago after melting ice sheets allowed access to the area. These ancient hunter-gatherer populations dispersed across Siberia with some tribes continuing eastward along the Bering Land Bridge to expand into the Americas at around 15,000–23,000 years ago. Due to this, Siberian and Native American populations still share a high degree of genetic affinity.




Northeast Asia


The Northeast Asian genetic cluster includes the modern day countries of China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Siberia, and Kazakhstan. Humans are believed to have arrived in this region of East Asia via two possible routes which included a coastal route leading from the eastern regions of Africa and an early continental migration of hunter gatherer groups through western Eurasia.




Southeast Asia


The Southeast Asian genetic cluster is primarily comprised of present day populations from Southeast China, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This also extends partially to the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and islands such as Sumatra and Borneo. Humans moved into this region at around 40,000 years ago. From here, they moved across the Indian Ocean back towards Africa, settling in Madagascar between 100 and 700 CE and also across the Oceanic region.




Oceania


The Oceania genetic cluster consists of modern era populations from Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Britain Island, Timor-Leste, and Flores Islands. Modern humans arrived in this cluster roughly 45,000 years ago and spread eastward from of Southeast Asia. Due to expansive polar glaciers, sea levels were much lower than present day and allowed for humans to easily cross between these regions. Because of extensive trade and migration, clear genetic links can be seen with the South Asian region.





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