LAU s Professor Pierre Zalloua. (Photo by Adib Mufti)
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Populations in the northern Levant lived in isolation for more than 25,000 years during the ice age, research by a team of Lebanese and international geneticists revealed in a new study of the impact of climate on early human movement.The last ice age (roughly 110,000 years ago to 12,000 years ago) forced populations onto the more limited habitable land in the northern Levant, around the Black Sea and in the Arabian Peninsula – the latter not previously identified through archaeology.Zalloua's research team found that populations in these areas, called "refugia" would have had no contact or intermixing for more than 25,000 years, creating "distinct genetic signatures specific to each 'refugium,'" according to Zalloua.Isolation over 25,000 years is enough time to create distinctive genetic markers in a population, Zalloua said.
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