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Concept: Tibet


The Near East Fertile Crescent is well recognized as a primary center of barley origin, diversity, and domestication. A large number of wild barleys have been collected from the Tibetan Plateau, which is characterized by an extreme environment. We used genome-wide diversity array technology markers to analyze the genotypic division between wild barley from the Near East and Tibet. Our results confirmed the existence of Tibetan wild barley and suggested that the split between the wild barleys in the Near East and those in Tibet occurred around 2.76 million years ago (Mya). To test the concept of polyphyletic domestication of barley, we characterized a set of worldwide cultivated barley. Some Chinese hulless and six-rowed barleys showed a close relationship with Tibetan wild barley but showed no common ancestor with other cultivated barley. Our data support the concept of polyphyletic domestication of cultivated barley and indicate that the Tibetan Plateau and its vicinity is one of the centers of domestication of cultivated barley. The current results may be highly significant in exploring the elite germplasm for barley breeding, especially against cold and drought stresses.

Concepts: Agriculture, Barley, Fertile Crescent, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet, Central Asia, Near East, Tibetan Plateau


The facultative intracellular Gram-negative bacterium Brucella melitensis causes brucellosis in domestic and wild mammals. Brucella melitensis QH61 was isolated from a yak suffering from abortion in 2015 in Qinghai, China. Here, we report the whole-genome sequence of B. melitensis strain QH61.

Concepts: Microbiology, Escherichia coli, Sequence, Brucellosis, Brucella melitensis, Brucella, Chloramphenicol, Tibet


The high-altitude transverse valleys [>3,000 m above sea level (masl)] of the Himalayan arc from Arunachal Pradesh to Ladahk were among the last habitable places permanently colonized by prehistoric humans due to the challenges of resource scarcity, cold stress, and hypoxia. The modern populations of these valleys, who share cultural and linguistic affinities with peoples found today on the Tibetan plateau, are commonly assumed to be the descendants of the earliest inhabitants of the Himalayan arc. However, this assumption has been challenged by archaeological and osteological evidence suggesting that these valleys may have been originally populated from areas other than the Tibetan plateau, including those at low elevation. To investigate the peopling and early population history of this dynamic high-altitude contact zone, we sequenced the genomes (0.04×-7.25×, mean 2.16×) and mitochondrial genomes (20.8×-1,311.0×, mean 482.1×) of eight individuals dating to three periods with distinct material culture in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) of Nepal, spanning 3,150-1,250 y before present (yBP). We demonstrate that the region is characterized by long-term stability of the population genetic make-up despite marked changes in material culture. The ancient genomes, uniparental haplotypes, and high-altitude adaptive alleles suggest a high-altitude East Asian origin for prehistoric Himalayan populations.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Biology, Culture, Arunachal Pradesh, Archaeology, Himalayas, Tibet


The development of fluvial systems in East Asia is closely linked to the evolving topography following India-Eurasia collision. Despite this, the age of the Yangtze River system has been strongly debated, with estimates ranging from 40 to 45 Ma, to a more recent initiation around 2 Ma. Here, we present (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages from basalts interbedded with fluvial sediments from the lower reaches of the Yangtze together with detrital zircon U-Pb ages from sand grains within these sediments. We show that a river containing sediments indistinguishable from the modern river was established before ∼23 Ma. We argue that the connection through the Three Gorges must postdate 36.5 Ma because of evaporite and lacustrine sedimentation in the Jianghan Basin before that time. We propose that the present Yangtze River system formed in response to regional extension throughout eastern China, synchronous with the start of strike-slip tectonism and surface uplift in eastern Tibet and fed by strengthened rains caused by the newly intensified summer monsoon.

Concepts: Time, China, Yangtze River, Three Gorges Dam, Hubei, Three Gorges, Yichang, Tibet


The Himalayan mountain range is strategically located at the crossroads of the major cultural centers in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Although previous Y-chromosome studies indicate that the Himalayas served as a natural barrier for gene flow from the south to the Tibetan plateau, this region is believed to have played an important role as a corridor for human migrations between East and West Eurasia along the ancient Silk Road. To evaluate the effects of the Himalayan mountain range in shaping the maternal lineages of populations residing on either side of the cordillera, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA variation in 344 samples from three Nepalese collections (Newar, Kathmandu and Tamang) and a general population of Tibet. Our results revealed a predominantly East Asian-specific component in Tibet and Tamang, whereas Newar and Kathmandu are both characterized by a combination of East and South Central Asian lineages. Interestingly, Newar and Kathmandu harbor several deep-rooted Indian lineages, including M2, R5, and U2, whose coalescent times from this study (U2, >40 kya) and previous reports (M2 and R5, >50 kya) suggest that Nepal was inhabited during the initial peopling of South Central Asia. Comparisons with our previous Y-chromosome data indicate sex-biased migrations in Tamang and a founder effect and/or genetic drift in Tamang and Newar. Altogether, our results confirm that while the Himalayas acted as a geographic barrier for human movement from the Indian subcontinent to the Tibetan highland, it also served as a conduit for gene flow between Central and East Asia. Am J Phys Anthropol 000:000-000, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Middle East, Asia, South Asia, Himalayas, Tibet, Nepal, Central Asia, Eurasia


The purpose of the study was to analyze the features of arthropathic changes and functional impairments as well as the correlations between them for adult patients suffered with Kashin-Beck disease (KBD) in Aba Tibetan area of Sichuan Province, China.

Concepts: Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet, Tibetan people, Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture


The concentrations, depositions and optical properties of precipitation DOC at three remote stations (Nam Co, Lulang and Everest) were investigated in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau (HTP). The results showed that their volume-weighted mean DOC concentrations were 1.05±1.01mgCL(-1), 0.83±0.85mgCL(-1) and 0.86±0.91mgCL(-1), respectively, close to those of other remote areas in the world and lower than those of typical polluted urban cities. Combined with precipitation amounts, the DOC depositions at these three stations were calculated to be 0.34±0.32gCm(-2)yr(-1), 0.84±0.86gCm(-2)yr(-1) and 0.16±0.17gCm(-2)yr(-1), respectively. The annual DOC deposition in the HTP was approximately 0.94±0.87TgC, the highest and lowest values appeared in the southeastern and northwestern plateau, respectively. The sources of DOC in the precipitation at these three stations were remarkably different, indicating large spatial heterogeneity in the sources of precipitation DOC over the HTP. Nam Co presented combustion sources from South Asia and local residents, Lulang showed biomass combustion source from South Asia, and Everest was mainly influenced by local mineral dust. The values of the MACDOC at 365nm were 0.48±0.47m(2)g(-1), 0.25±0.15m(2)g(-1), and 0.64±0.49m(2)g(-1), respectively, for the precipitation at the three stations. All of these values were significantly lower than those of corresponding near-surface aerosol samples because precipitation DOC contains more secondary organic aerosol with low light absorption abilities. Additionally, this phenomenon was also observed in seriously polluted urban areas, implying it is universal in the atmosphere. Because precipitation DOC contains information for both particle-bound and gaseous components from the near surface up to the altitude of clouds where precipitation occurs, the MACDOC of precipitation is more representative than that of near-surface aerosols for a given region.

Concepts: City, Urban area, People's Republic of China, Atmosphere, Himalayas, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet, Central Asia


Current models of the peopling of the higher-elevation zones of the Tibetan Plateau postulate that permanent occupation could only have been facilitated by an agricultural lifeway at ~3.6 thousand calibrated carbon-14 years before present. Here we report a reanalysis of the chronology of the Chusang site, located on the central Tibetan Plateau at an elevation of ~4270 meters above sea level. The minimum age of the site is fixed at ~7.4 thousand years (thorium-230/uranium dating), with a maximum age between ~8.20 and 12.67 thousand calibrated carbon-14 years before present (carbon-14 assays). Travel cost modeling and archaeological data suggest that the site was part of an annual, permanent, preagricultural occupation of the central plateau. These findings challenge current models of the occupation of the Tibetan Plateau.

Concepts: Chronology, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet, Central Asia, Radiocarbon dating, Dendrochronology, Above mean sea level, Holocene calendar


It is an old philosophical idea that if the future self is literally different from the current self, one should be less concerned with the death of the future self (Parfit, ). This paper examines the relation between attitudes about death and the self among Hindus, Westerners, and three Buddhist populations (Lay Tibetan, Lay Bhutanese, and monastic Tibetans). Compared with other groups, monastic Tibetans gave particularly strong denials of the continuity of self, across several measures. We predicted that the denial of self would be associated with a lower fear of death and greater generosity toward others. To our surprise, we found the opposite. Monastic Tibetan Buddhists showed significantly greater fear of death than any other group. The monastics were also less generous than any other group about the prospect of giving up a slightly longer life in order to extend the life of another.

Concepts: Future, Buddhism, Tibet, Defence mechanism, Gautama Buddha, Tibetan Buddhism, Mahayana, Vajrayana


Combustion-derived black carbon (BC) aerosols accelerate glacier melting in the Himalayas and in Tibet (the Third Pole (TP)), thereby limiting the sustainable freshwater supplies for billions of people. However, the sources of BC reaching the TP remain uncertain, hindering both process understanding and efficient mitigation. Here we present the source-diagnostic Δ(14)C/δ(13)C compositions of BC isolated from aerosol and snowpit samples in the TP. For the Himalayas, we found equal contributions from fossil fuel (46±11%) and biomass (54±11%) combustion, consistent with BC source fingerprints from the Indo-Gangetic Plain, whereas BC in the remote northern TP predominantly derives from fossil fuel combustion (66±16%), consistent with Chinese sources. The fossil fuel contributions to BC in the snowpits of the inner TP are lower (30±10%), implying contributions from internal Tibetan sources (for example, yak dung combustion). Constraints on BC sources facilitate improved modelling of climatic patterns, hydrological effects and provide guidance for effective mitigation actions.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Petroleum, Carbon, People's Republic of China, Fossil fuel, Combustion, Himalayas, Tibet