Wars and clan structure may explain a strange biological event 7,000 years ago, Stanford researchers find
Genetic data suggest there was a collapse in male, but not female, genetic diversity starting 7,000 years ago. The reason may be wars between clans structured around male ancestry.
The outlines of that idea came to Tian Chen Zeng, a Stanford undergraduate in sociology, after spending hours reading blog posts that speculated – unconvincingly, Zeng thought – on the origins of the “Neolithic Y-chromosome bottleneck,” as the event is known. He soon shared his ideas with his high school classmate Alan Aw, also a Stanford undergraduate in mathematical and computational science.
“He was really waxing lyrical about it,” Aw said, so the pair took their idea to Marcus Feldman, a professor of biology in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences. Zeng, Aw and Feldman published their results May 25 in Nature Communications.