Ancient DNA and population turnover in southern levantine pigs- Signature of the sea peoples migration?

Meirav Meiri*, Dorothée Huchon, Guy Bar-Oz, Elisabetta Boaretto, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Aren M. Maeir, Lidar Sapir-Hen, Greger Larson, Steve Weiner, Israel Finkelstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Near Eastern wild boars possess a characteristic DNA signature. Unexpectedly, wild boars from Israel have the DNA sequences of European wild boars and domestic pigs. To understand how this anomaly evolved, we sequenced DNA from ancient and modern pigs from Israel. Pigs from Late Bronze Age (until ca. 1150 BCE) in Israel shared haplotypes of modern and ancient Near Eastern pigs. European haplotypes became dominant only during the Iron Age (ca. 900 BCE). This raises the possibility that European pigs were brought to the region by the Sea Peoples who migrated to the Levant at that time. Then, a complete genetic turnover took place, most likely because of repeated admixture between local and introduced European domestic pigs that went feral. Severe population bottlenecks likely accelerated this process. Introductions by humans have strongly affected the phylogeography of wild animals, and interpretations of phylogeography based on modern DNA alone should be taken with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3035
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2013


FundersFunder number
European Community’s Seventh Framework Program
Seventh Framework Programme229418
European Research Council32/11
Israel Science Foundation


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