November 27, 2008

mtDNA of Ancient Koreans

Human Biology Volume 80, Number 3

Genetic Characterization and Assessment of Authenticity of Ancient Korean Skeletal Remains

Hwan Young Lee et al.


To study the maternal lineage history of Korea, we extracted DNA from the skeletal remains of 35 museum samples (some dating back to the Paleolithic Age) excavated from 11 local burial sites scattered throughout southern Korea. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences (HV1, HV2, and HV3) were successfully determined for 11 samples with no sharing of the control region polymorphisms with individuals involved in the laboratory analyses. Each of the 11 mtDNAs was assigned to the appropriate East Asian mtDNA haplogroup according to the haplogroup-specific control region mutation motif and diagnostic coding region single nucleotide polymorphism. The successful mtDNA haplogroup determination for each ancient Korean mtDNA and the confirmation of the absence of abnormal mutations based on the haplogroup-directed database comparisons indicates that there is no mosaic structure from cross-contamination or sample mix-up or other errors in our mtDNA sequences. The presence of haplogroups B, D, and G in the prehistoric age is consistent with the hypothesis that the early Korean population has a common origin in the northern regions of the Altai Mountains and Lake Baikal of southeastern Siberia. In addition, the modern Korean population, which possesses lineages from both southern and northern haplogroups, suggests additional gene flow from southern Asian haplogroups in recent times, but many more ancient samples need to be analyzed to directly tell whether there was regional continuity or replacement of early lineages by other lineages in ancient Korea.



Jenny Abrenica said...

Why matrilineal? That's not useful. The seed comes from the man. The woman is the earth that nurtures the seed, but what grows up is of the man. Show me some patrilineal DNA lineage, please, then I'll know the true heritage of the Koreans.

Unknown said...

Jenny, autosomally, the matrilineal is equal to the patrilineal, because we inherit 50% of our DNA from each parent. I have no idea why you believe Y-DNA haplogroups are any more important than mt-DNA haplogroups, but it's just not true. The mt GREATLY affects many things dealing with metabolism, plus the migratory patterns of mt VERSUS Y actually show the FULL patterns of migrations, not just the males. Women tended to stay in place more, move more slowly, and to be parts of groups over-run by men from other haplogroups, sometimes being taken into captivity into a new genepool. Thus, knowing the history of both sexes gives the full history of any people.

You can't truly believe that the womb is only like dirt, and the woman is contributing nothing but a warm place to grow? Sorry, but if you want to truly understand the science you read, you will need to get up to speed on what DNA is, how it's inherited, and the TRUE importance of all involved.

Case in point: me. My Y haplogroup is African (E-V22), but autosomally I am approaching 95% European, and I have a Euro mt haplogroup. My African Y would tell you precisely zip as far as how it got into a European group and ended up in me.

David Cannon said...

@Unknown — I agree with all of what you said, except the final comment. It doesn't tell you "zip" — it tells you that sometime, somehow, an African male married/cohabited/bred with a European female (or the ancestor of one). From that union, a long male-line ensued, 95 percent of which married/bred only with Europeans. You are the descendant of this line. So your Y chromosome does tell you something about your (ancient) history.

On the other hand, your autosomnal DNA tells you a lot more about your overall history, so I agree fully with what you told Jenny.

David Cannon said...

@Jenny, I agree with "Unknown". All of us have 46 chromosomes (23 from Mom and 23 from Dad). A man has a Y-chromosome (from his father) and and X-chromosome (from his mother). A woman has two X-chromosomes (one from each parent). The other 44 chromosomes could be from either parent, but there will be an equal number from each.

What can be traced : the male lineage (father-son-grandson, etc) through the Y-chromosome, and the female lineage (mother-daughter-granddaughter, etc) through mt-DNA.

What cannot be traced : other lines (e.g., your father's mother, or your mother's father) — you will have chromosomes from each of them, but which ones get passed on is not fixed. For example, a DNA test could probably tell you whether or not you have any Korean or Maori or Welsh ancestry, but it would not tell you what side of your family it's on, UNLESS it's in either the direct male line or the direct female line. If it's not, it could still tell you whether or not it's there, but not what side it's on. Hope that helps.