April 26, 2007

Caucasoid mtDNA in Iron Age Central China

More on the Yu Hong tomb. From the second link:
Yu Hong (d. 592) was a high-ranking member of a community of Sogdians who had settled on the northern border of China at the beginning of the fourth century. While barely in his teens, Yu Hong began his career in the service of the most powerful nomadic tribe at the time, known as the Ruru, and was posted as an emissary to several countries, including Iran.
From a book on the subject:
The highlight of the excavation was the superbly-carved white marble sarcophagus which bears detailed scenes of daily life, hunting, mythology, banqueting and entertainment that have a strong Central Asian influence, including Sogdian and Sassanian. Many of the figures depicted are Caucasian.
Proc Biol Sci. 2007 Apr 24;

Evidence of ancient DNA reveals the first European lineage in Iron Age Central China.

By Xie CZ, Li CX, Cui YQ, Zhang QC, Fu YQ, Zhu H, Zhou H on Proc Biol Sci

Various studies on ancient DNA have attempted to reconstruct population movement in Asia, with much interest focused on determining the arrival of European lineages in ancient East Asia. Here, we discuss our analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of human remains excavated from the Yu Hong tomb in Taiyuan, China, dated 1400 years ago. The burial style of this tomb is characteristic of Central Asia at that time. Our analysis shows that Yu Hong belonged to the haplogroup U5, one of the oldest western Eurasian-specific haplogroups, while his wife can be classified as haplogroup G, the type prevalent in East Asia. Our findings show that this man with European lineage arrived in Taiyuan approximately 1400 years ago, and most probably married a local woman. Haplogroup U5 was the first west Eurasian-specific lineage to be found in the central part of ancient China, and Taiyuan may be the easternmost location of the discovered remains of European lineage in ancient China.


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