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Genetic history of the Swahili population

At the dawn of the second millennium, the expansion of the Indian Ocean trading network aligned with the emergence of an outward-oriented community along the East African coast to create a cosmopolitan cultural and trading zone known as the Swahili Corridor. Based on analyses of genome-wide genotyping data in 140 individuals from coastal Kenya and the Comoros islands, along with 3,477 individuals from the Indian Ocean rim, we reconstruct historical population dynamics showing that the Swahili Corridor is largely an East Bantu genetic continuum. Within this continuity significant gene flows from the Middle East can be seen in the Swahili and Comorians at dates corresponding to the Islamization of East Africa. However the main external gene flow into insular populations of the Swahili Corridor, such as Comorian and Malagasy groups, came from Island Southeast Asia as early as the 10th century. Remarkably, our results reflect archaeological and linguistic data in suggesting that the Comoros archipelago is the oldest place of contact between Austronesian and African populations in the Swahili Corridor.

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00010001392 Illumina Human Omni5 Bead Chip 91