February 16, 2013

Ancient mtDNA and gene flow from Siberia to NE Europe

I had mentioned the thesis by the lead author, and now a paper from it has been published. If anyone notices any new material in the new paper, feel free to highlight it in the comments.

PLoS Genet 9(2): e1003296. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003296

Ancient DNA Reveals Prehistoric Gene-Flow from Siberia in the Complex Human Population History of North East Europe

Clio Der Sarkissian et al.

North East Europe harbors a high diversity of cultures and languages, suggesting a complex genetic history. Archaeological, anthropological, and genetic research has revealed a series of influences from Western and Eastern Eurasia in the past. While genetic data from modern-day populations is commonly used to make inferences about their origins and past migrations, ancient DNA provides a powerful test of such hypotheses by giving a snapshot of the past genetic diversity. In order to better understand the dynamics that have shaped the gene pool of North East Europeans, we generated and analyzed 34 mitochondrial genotypes from the skeletal remains of three archaeological sites in northwest Russia. These sites were dated to the Mesolithic and the Early Metal Age (7,500 and 3,500 uncalibrated years Before Present). We applied a suite of population genetic analyses (principal component analysis, genetic distance mapping, haplotype sharing analyses) and compared past demographic models through coalescent simulations using Bayesian Serial SimCoal and Approximate Bayesian Computation. Comparisons of genetic data from ancient and modern-day populations revealed significant changes in the mitochondrial makeup of North East Europeans through time. Mesolithic foragers showed high frequencies and diversity of haplogroups U (U2e, U4, U5a), a pattern observed previously in European hunter-gatherers from Iberia to Scandinavia. In contrast, the presence of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups C, D, and Z in Early Metal Age individuals suggested discontinuity with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and genetic influx from central/eastern Siberia. We identified remarkable genetic dissimilarities between prehistoric and modern-day North East Europeans/Saami, which suggests an important role of post-Mesolithic migrations from Western Europe and subsequent population replacement/extinctions. This work demonstrates how ancient DNA can improve our understanding of human population movements across Eurasia. It contributes to the description of the spatio-temporal distribution of mitochondrial diversity and will be of significance for future reconstructions of the history of Europeans.



  1. "...the presence of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups C, D, and Z in Early Metal Age individuals suggested discontinuity with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and genetic influx from central/eastern Siberia."

    The Seima-Turbino phenomenon also dates to around 3,500 years before present. I should expect to find Siberian DNA moving west by that time.

  2. http://www.google.ca/search?q=%CE%A0%CE%B1%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%B3%CE%B5%CF%89%CF%81%CE%B3%CE%BF%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%8D+%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%85+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.livemedia.gr%2F&btnG=Search&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&safe=images&gs_l=heirloom-serp.3...565.750.0.1153.

    is a site that might link to a bunch of videos about ancient dna

  3. Nice work. Another case of (~7,500 y) old H! I suspect, as for other uniparental histories, we will find that some subgroups are paleolithic, others spread during the neolithic. IMO, y-DNA I may also be such a case, with the Scandinavian variant spread from a (~Balkan?) refuge, and others (from the Balkans?) at the beginning of the neolithic.

    PCA analysis:

    aUZPO were before westward migration of East-Uralic/ Central/East Siberian people, so they were actually closer still to aHG and also extand Volga-Ural basin people.

    Same old story: before modern times, when people migrated in any significant numbers to have an impact, they usually brought their women with them, initially. However, if they survived and were successfull, they quickly ran out of women and took on local wives. So, aBOO is still very Eastern Uralic (West Siberian) and has Central/Eastern Siberian elements, but extant Uralic speakers largely no longer are (even the Saami are closer to aHG).

    As to the statement about the western v.s. eastern Saami origin, I don't think it has been shown that Ahrensburgian is exclusively western, at all. In fact, all I see is an extent all the way to Eastern Poland and at least equal association with Magdalanian and the Sviderian culture (Svidero-Ahrensburgian Complex). So, West Uralic and some East Uralic/ West Siberian haplogroup influences might in fact date back that long ago.


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