But the La Braña man did have some talents thought to have originated only with farming societies: His immune system was apparently capable of fighting off a number of diseases, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and malaria (which was endemic in southern Europe until modern times), which researchers had assumed were passed to humans from animals once cattle, sheep, and other species were domesticated. Out of 40 genes involved in immunity that the team looked at, 24 (60%) were similar to those of modern Europeans. "It appears that the first line of defense against pathogens was already there," says Wolfgang Haak, an ancient DNA researcher at the University of Adelaide in Australia. One possible explanation, [geneticist Carles] Lalueza-Fox adds, is that "epidemics affecting early farmers in the [Middle East] spread to continental Europe before they went themselves."
Read more at Science   http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2014/01/how-farming-reshaped-our-genomes