The genomic history of the Middle East published in Cell, features 137 high-coverage (good quality) samples.



  • Middle Easterners do not have ancestry from an early Out of Africa expansion.
  • Basal Eurasian and African ancestry in Arabians deplete their Neanderthal ancestry:
    “Lazaridis et al., (2016) proposed that a basal Eurasian population, with low-to-no Neanderthal ancestry, had contributed different proportions to ancient and modern Eurasians, reaching 50% in Neolithic Iranians and Natufians.”
  • Authors found an association between migration/admixture and the spread of Semitic languages.
  • There was a large expansion of Neolithic Iranian ancestry during the Bronze Age, which arrived in the Levant between 1300 BC and 3900 BC and replaced 50% of the local ancestry. This expansion also reached Arabia and East Africa.
  • Bottleneck events occurred during periods of aridification (drying of landscapes).

The study’s admixture analysis shows that the Middle Eastern population is split between:

  • Northern Levantines, who have high amounts of Neolithic Anatolian (Early European Farmer related) ancestry
  • Iranians, who have low Natufian and high Neolithic Iranian ancestry
  • Arabs, who have very high Natufian ancestry and low Neolithic Anatolian ancestry
  • Intermediate populations, like Iraqis, Palestinians, and Jordanians

There is a very clear distinction between Arabs, Iranians, and other Middle Easterners.

The PCA below demonstrates that the modern Middle Eastern population falls between the three ancient populations of Neolithic Iran, Neolithic Anatolia, and Epipaleolithic Levant. Similar to how modern Europeans fall between ancient Western Hunter-Gatherers, Early European Farmers, and Proto-Indo-Europeans.

Here’s the clean version:

One last thing — a study on Middle Eastern genetics was released in 2019 (A Transient Pulse of Genetic Admixture from the Crusaders in the Near East Identified from Ancient Genome Sequences). The admixture analysis that they produced shows much lower levels of Neolithic Anatolian ancestry in both Middle Eastern and European populations. I don’t know how, but they’ve given Europeans over twice as much “Neolithic Iranian” (Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer) ancestry as we should have (see G25 analysis below). In summary: The new 2021 study is definitely more accurate.