Analysis of DNA from ancient remains in Central and Northern Europe appears to show that the genetic legacy of the hunter-gatherers was all but erased by later migrations, including pioneer Neolithic farmers but possibly by later waves of people too.
The latest paper reveals that events some time after the initial migration of farmers into Europe did indeed have a major impact on the modern gene pool.
In the study, an international team of researchers focused on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the information in the cell's "batteries". This type of DNA is passed down, almost unchanged, from a mother to her children.
By studying the mutations, or changes, in mtDNA sequences, researchers are able to probe the maternal histories of different human populations. It has enabled them to build a "family tree" of maternal ancestry, and group different mtDNA lineages together based on shared mutations."
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