This is a very important paper which samples Y chromosome variation in Russia (including ethnic Russians and other populations) and neighboring countries.
On the left, the MDS plot showing relationships of the populations included in the study.
Unfortunately the samples were not Y-SNP typed, but the testing of 16 Y-STR markers is more than usual for a scientific study and should be more than enough for those interested in inferring the haplogroup composition of the studied populations.
Of interesting is the following observation from the paper:
In particular the Rst’s within groups were 0.093, 0.0, 0.070 and 0.156 for Uralic, Kartevelian, Indo-European and Altaic, respectively, confirming the latter as the most heterogeneous language family among those represented here.
I mention this because it shows how easily it is to be misled by genetic diversity measures into erroneous conclusions about the antiquity of populations and their dispersals, a point I have often made before. Altaic is the youngest language to have dispersed in the territory in question, but its speakers are the most genetically heterogeneous.
On the other hand, Kartvelian is probably fairly young, and its speakers are fairly homogeneous, but there can be little doubt that it is a young offshoot of a very ancient linguistic branch that has survived in the Caucasus and was unaffected by the Indo-Europeanization and Altaicization of neighboring populations.
Note also how geographical range restrictions affect estimates of genetic heterogeneity within language families. For example, Indo-European here is represented largely by Slavs; if other IE-speakers were represented, genetic heterogeneity within that group would be increased. Indeed, just as Kartvelian represents a young offshoot within the South Caucasian language family, so does Slavic represent a young offshoot within the Indo-European one.
The situation is not too dissimilar to that in Southwestern Europe where another young IE offshoot (Romance) has replaced pre-existing Indo-European (Italo-Celtic) variation.
Older posts on the same topic:
- Russian Y chromosomes
- Haplogroup correlations in Russia
- Y chromosomes from the European part of Russia
- Y chromosome distribution in northwestern Russia
The landscape of Y chromosome polymorphisms in Russia
Giovanna Bellusci et al.
Background: The pattern of diversity for the Y chromosome provides a view of male-driven processes of dispersal and settlement. By virtue of the broad geographic continuity, the genetic signature of movements from Asia to Europe can be detected in populations of north-eastern Europe.
Aim: To directly test previous hypotheses on the peopling of Russia, by considering a broader spectrum of potential diversity.
Subjects and methods: A total of 636 unrelated males (24 samples) from geographically and ethnically defined populations of Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Georgia were analysed for 16 Y-STR loci. Some of the populations represent more or less distinct isolates.
Results: Microsatellites alone can have the power of detecting Asian contributions to the gene pool of populations now residing in Europe. Within Europe, a greater heterogeneity among populations sharing the same language than between populations sharing the same ethnic affiliation was found. There was low diversity and marked population differentiation in some Altaic speakers. Sympatry eroded inter-ethnic differentiation. No regular decline in genetic similarity with geography was seen.
Conclusion: Two layers of overall diversity represent a main feature of the genetic landscape of the population of the European portion of Russia.