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A story of the crusades as told by the Crusader DNA



  A story of the Crusades, narrated by the Crusader DNA
This image shows the crusader bones found in a tomb in Sidon, Lebanon. Picture credits: Claude Doumet-Serhal

History can tell us much about the Crusades, the series of religious wars between 1

095 and 1291, in which Christian invaders conquered the Middle East. The DNA of nine 13th century crusaders buried in a pit in Lebanon shows that there is more to know who the Crusaders were and how they interact with the populations they came in contact with. The work will be published on April 18 in The American Journal of Human Genetics .

The remains indicate that the soldiers of the Crusader armies were genetically diverse and mingled with the local population in the Middle East, although they did not significantly affect the genetics of Lebanese living today. They also highlight the important role that the ancient DNA can play in understanding historical events that are less well documented.

"We know that Richard the Lionheart fought in the Crusade, but we do not know much about the ordinary soldiers who lived and died there, and those old samples give us insights into that," says senior author Chris Tyler. Smith, a geneticist at Wellcome Sanger Institute.

"Our results give us unprecedented insight into the ancestry of the people who fought in the Crusader army, and it was not just Europeans," says first author Marc Haber, also from the Wellcome Sanger Institute. "We see this extraordinary genetic diversity in the Middle East in the Middle Ages, with Europeans, the Middle East and mixed individuals fighting in the Crusades, living and dying side by side."

  A History of the Crusades as told by Crusaders & # 39; DNA
The Crusaders' Bones were found in a pit in Sidon, Lebanon. Picture credits: Claude Doumet-Serhal

Archaeological evidence indicates that 25 people whose remains were found in a tomb near a crusader castle near Sidon in Lebanon were warriors who died in the battle of 1200. Based on this, Tyler-Smith, Haber, and their colleagues performed genetic analysis of the remains and were able to sequence the DNA of nine crusaders, revealing that there were three Europeans, four from the Middle East, and two individuals had mixed genetic ancestors. 19659005] Throughout history, other massive human migrations – such as the Mongolian movement through Asia under Genghis Khan and the arrival of colonial Iberians in South America – have fundamentally transformed the genetic makeup of these regions. The authors suggest that the influence of the crusaders is likely to be shorter, as the genetic traces of crusaders are insignificant in the people living in Lebanon today. "They have made great efforts to drive them out and have been successful after a few hundred years," says Tyler-Smith.

This ancient DNA can tell us things about history that modern DNA can not. When the researchers lived in Lebanon 2,000 years ago in Roman times 2,000 years ago, the researchers found that today's Lebanese population is genetically more similar to Lebanon's Lebanon. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art…2934 & lang = DE Who lived in the Roman era and the genetics of the people who live there today,

. You would think that there is just that continuity, you think that nothing happened between Roman times and today, and you would miss that for a while. "During Lebanese life, Europeans and people with mixed ancestors belonged to each other," says Haber ,

  A story of the Crusades, as the Crusader DNA tells
The bones of the Crusaders were found in a pit in Sidon, Lebanon. Picture credits: Claude Doumet-Serhal

These results suggest that there may be other important events in human history that do not occur in the DNA of people living today. And if these events are not as well documented as the Crusades, we may not know anything about them. "Our findings suggest that it's worth investigating the old DNA, even if it does not look like it's genetically fussy, and our story could be full of those fleeting impulses of genetic mixing that disappear without a trace," says Tyler-Smith.

That the researchers were able to sequence and interpret the nine crusader DNA at all was also surprising. In warm climates, the DNA is degraded faster and the remains examined here were burned and buried roughly. "The interest in the genetics of this region is very high in the long run, because it has this very strategic position, a lot of history and many migrations, but previous research has focused partly on today's population because recovering old DNA from warm climates is so difficult "Our success shows that studying samples in a similar state is now possible because of advances in DNA extraction and sequencing technology," says Haber.

Next, the researchers want to investigate what was genetically modified in the Middle East during the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.

However, they also hope that these types of studies will become more commonplace and interdisciplinary. "Historical records are often very fragmented and possibly very biased," says Tyler-Smith. "But genetics gives us a complementary approach that can validate some of the things we've read about in history and report on things that are not documented in the historical records we have, and there's that approach by historians and archaeologists as one of them is accepted As part of their subject, I think it will enrich more and more. "


Today's Lebanese are descended from Biblical Canaanites, according to the genetic study


Further information:
American Journal of Human Genetics Haber et al.: "A transient impulse of a genetic blending of crusaders in the Middle East identified from old genome sequences" https: //www.cell. com / ajhg / fulltext / S0002-9297 (19) 30111-9, DOI: 10.1016 / j.ajhg.2019.03.015

Quote :
A History of the Crusades, told by the Crusader DNA (2019, April 18)
retrieved on April 18, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-history-crusades-told-crusaders-dna.html

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