Y-chromosome lineages trace diffusion of people and languages in Southwestern Asia

The origins and dispersal of farming and pastoral nomadism in southwestern Asia are complex, and there is controversy about whether they were associated with cultural transmission or demic diffusion. In addition, the spread of these technological innovations has been associated with the dispersal of Dravidian and Indo-Iranian languages in southwestern Asia. Here we present genetic evidence for the occurrence of two major population movements, supporting a model of demic diffusion of early farmers from southwestern Iran—and of pastoral nomads from western and central Asia—into India, associated with Dravidian and Indo-European–language dispersals, respectively.

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