March 07, 2008

mtDNA of Altaian Kazakhs from Russia

From the paper:
In this study, we also find that all Turkic and Mongolic groups possess a common set of maternal haplogroups (C, D, G2a, H), and a minimal number of haplotypes from these lineages at appreciable frequencies. However, the overall patterns of haplotype sharing amongst these groups vary considerably. This finding is not necessarily incompatible with the cultural diffusion model per se, but implies that present day Turkic-Mongolic ethnic groups emerged from a common mtDNA pool that was widely distributed in Central and East Asia.
This suggests that the movements of Turkic-Mongolic people did not consist only of males but also had a female component to them. Also of interest from the paper:
Haplogroup N1a was also present in the Altaian Kazakhs. Seeing as how there were no occurrences of this lineage in other Kazakh populations or neighboring populations (Kolman et al., 1996; Comas et al., 1998; Yao et al., 2004), this finding was intriguing (Table 3). The haplotypic variation within the seven N1a samples was relatively high (Table 2), with these haplotypes belonging to both the European and Central Asian branches of this haplogroup, as recently defined by Haak et al. (2005). Thus, the source of N1a haplotypes in Altaian Kazakhs was unclear, although they seemed to have originated west of this part of Central Asia (Gokcumen et al., 2007).
Interestingly, mtDNA haplogroup N1a also pops up in Havik Brahmins from India, ancient high status Hungarians, as well as Iron Age Kazakhstan, and Neolithic Central Europeans.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology (early view)

Genetic variation in the enigmatic Altaian Kazakhs of South-Central Russia: Insights into Turkic population history

Omer Gokcumen et al.

The Altaian Kazakhs, a Turkic speaking group, now reside in the southern part of the Altai Republic in south-central Russia. According to historical accounts, they are one of several ethnic and geographical subdivisions of the Kazakh nomadic group that migrated from China and Western Mongolia into the Altai region during the 19th Century. However, their population history of the Altaian Kazakhs and the genetic relationships with other Kazakh groups and neighboring Turkic-speaking populations is not well understood. To begin elucidating their genetic history, we analyzed the mtDNAs from 237 Altaian Kazakhs through a combination of SNP analysis and HVS1 sequencing. This analysis revealed that their mtDNA gene pool was comprised of roughly equal proportions of East (A-G, M7, M13, Y and Z) and West (H, HV, pre-HV, R, IK, JT, X, U) Eurasian haplogroups, with the haplotypic diversity within haplogroups C, D, H, and U being particularly high. This pattern of diversity likely reflects the complex interactions of the Kazakhs with other Turkic groups, Mongolians, and indigenous Altaians. Overall, these data have important implications for Kazakh population history, the genetic prehistory of the Altai-Sayan region, and the phylogeography of major mitochondrial lineages in Eurasia.


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