July 28, 2008

Ancient mtDNA from Inner Mongolia

Three individuals with mixed Caucasoid-Mongoloid affinities were an adult female (haplogroup C), 25yo male (haplogroup M), and 25-30yo male (haplogroup A). From the paper:
All haplogroups were Asian-specific, the haplotypes of 10 individuals are shared by modern Han Chinese, and the one-step neighbors to another 7 individuals also mainly distribute in modern Han Chinese (Yao et al., 2002). The phylogenetic analysis of the ancient population and extant Eurasian populations showed that the ancient population most closely related to the Han Chinese, especially the northern Han.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology doi: 10.1002/ajpa.20894

Ancient DNA analysis of human remains from the upper capital city of Kublai Khan

Yuqin Fu et al.

Abstract

Analysis of DNA from human archaeological remains is a powerful tool for reconstructing ancient events in human history. To help understand the origin of the inhabitants of Kublai Khan's Upper Capital in Inner Mongolia, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphisms in 21 ancient individuals buried in the Zhenzishan cemetery of the Upper Capital. MtDNA coding and noncoding region polymorphisms identified in the ancient individuals were characteristic of the Asian mtDNA haplogroups A, B, N9a, C, D, Z, M7b, and M. Phylogenetic analysis of the ancient mtDNA sequences, and comparison with extant reference populations, revealed that the maternal lineages of the population buried in the Zhenzishan cemetery are of Asian origin and typical of present-day Han Chinese, despite the presence of typical European morphological features in several of the skeletons.

Link

8 comments:

terryt said...

Tends to indicate that the Tocharians (or whatever you like to call the people carrying "typical European morphological features") were definitely not the first into the region. And, once more, shows that Y and mt DNA haplogroups do not closely coincide with morphological features.

n/a said...

"Tends to indicate that the Tocharians (or whatever you like to call the people carrying "typical European morphological features") were definitely not the first into the region."

What the fuck are you talking about? Do you have any idea when Kublai Khan lived?

n/a said...

Or where Inner Mongolia is, for that matter.

pconroy said...

Yeah, the Tocharians didn't live in Inner Mongolia, but Xinjiang - which is to the West of there.

Plus there is noting to say that Y-DNA of some of these skeletons may show typical Causasian haplotypes.

Also, bear in mind that China is on a major nationalist binge right now, so they are trying to demonstrate that "Han Chinese", lived in many places that they historically didn't...

Scott said...

It's not surprising that all of them have Asian mtDNA. The city where the remains came from is like a 100 KM north of Beijing, so it's pretty much on the edge of the Core region of China. Plus, only 3 of the 23 skeletons were considered "Euro-Asian" by the authors.

How many of you read the actual paper?

Dragon Horse said...

No surprise inner-Mongolians and Northern Han Chinese are fairly closely related. Inner-Mongalia has more Mongols than the nation of Mongolia and the only real difference between them and Northern Chinese is that the Northern Han were "civilized" into "Han culture" overtime. It is well recorded that much of the population of Northern China were Mongol, Turks, and Tungustic steppe and semi-nomadic folks, who sinicized over time and mixed with existing Han population. It is even thought (but not agreed upon) that the Qin Dynasty, which united China under, Qin Huang Di, the first to use such a title, was at least partially Turkic in origin so this goes way way back to the previous millennium.

No one knows who the "purest Han" are...as the Northern ones mixed with steppe nomads, and the Southern ones mixed with various proto-Southeast Asian groups.

I do know that Guangdong(Cantonese) and Minnan (Hokkien) dialect are a lot closer to Middle Chinese than Mandarin, which looks like a simplified version that has a lot of characteristics that are not found in Southern dialects or more ancient forms of Chinese...likely innovations brought in by Northern "barbarians".

There is a rang of looks, where at the extreme Northern Han and Mongols may have a different appearance but the overlap is quite large...if you go to Beijing there is no shortage of stocky (also large headed) fair skinned Chinese men who are nearly 6 foot tall...you won't find that much, even in Shanghai let alone in Hong Kong.

There is define genetic continuity between Mongols, Northern Han, Tugustics (like Manchu) and Koreans in Northeast Asia.

I left Japanese out for a reason, they are obviously related to other Northern Asians but maybe due to bottleneck and proto-Japanese populations (predecessors of Ainu) they are slightly removed genetically (very high rate of D2 and O2b1 Y Haplogroup and Mtd DNA M Haplogroup. They obviously have a slightly different look and build as well.

Dragon Horse said...

pconroy:

This is correct (as far as the nationalism)

Being and the area North were "barbarian" areas until and not actually controlled by Han Chinese until the Ming Dynasty, it was made capital of China by the Mongols. They had a Han population for hundreds of years, but it was never part of the Han Heartland...that was too the South West between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River...centered around Xi'an.

terryt said...

n/a asked, "What the fuck are you talking about?" Yes. I did stuff up considerably there. For some reason I thought the skeletons in the Zhenzishan cemetery were far older than Kublai Khan's time. Sorry about that. Not thinking or reading clearly at all.

However it's still interesting that: "the maternal lineages of the population ... are of Asian origin ... despite the presence of typical European morphological features in several of the skeletons".

So my comment, "Y and mt DNA haplogroups do not closely coincide with morphological features" stands. Should add 'necessarily' of course. Although as pconroy said it's quite possible, "that Y-DNA of some of these skeletons may show typical Causasian haplotypes". But again not necessarily.