May 30, 2010

ESHG 2010 abstracts

Some excerpts from this year's European Society of Human Genetics meeting:

P10.31 - Pigmentation gene MC1R shows strong genetic patterning in Eurasia
We present a comprehensive analysis of allele/haplotype frequencies from five functional SNPs (rs1805005, rs2228479, rs1805007, rs1805008, and rs885479) in MC1R throughout Eurasia, including from 12,151 individuals from 141 regional populations, focussing on novel genotype data from 38 Central Asian populations.
P10.39 - Genetic variation in Bulgarians: a mitochondrial DNA perspective
The structure and diversity of the Bulgarian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) gene pool is still almost unknown. In the present study, we have evaluated the extent and nature of mtDNA variation in the largest Bulgarian sample to date, comprising 855 healthy unrelated subjects from across the country.
P10.41 - Mitochondrial genome diversity in Ulchi, the tungusic-speaking tribe of the Russian Far East
The present report is based on the study of mtDNA variation in Ulchi (n=74), a Tungusic-speaking tribe of hunters and fishermen dispersed along the lakes and reaches of the Lower Amur. MtDNA analysis revealed 39 distinct mtDNA haplotypes belonging to 21 Eurasian haplogroups C2-C3, D3-D8, D11, G1-G2, M7-M9, Z, B, F, N9, Y and U4, with overall N macrohaplogroup derivatives frequency 53%, M - 43%, and R - 4%.
P10.62 - Genetic structure of Western Caucasus populations on the base of uniparental polymorphisms
We have analyzed 52 markers in coding region of the mtDNA and 48 markers in the non-recombining part of the Y-chromosome in 592 individuals representing five populations from western Caucasus (Abkhazians, Adyghes, Abazins, Georgians, and Circassians). Y-chromosome haplogroups G-M201 and J2 (J-M172) account for more than 50% of all haplogroup diversity in the studied populations. Haplogroup G-M201 in the Western Caucasus populations is represented only by subclade G2a (G-P15) with the insignificantly low exception in the Adyghe population where G1a (G-P20) amounts to less than 1%. In contrast to high frequency of J2 haplogroup J1 exhibit moderate occurrence and vary from 2 to 6 %. Haplogroup R1a (R-SRY10831.2) is also present in all studied populations.


ashraf said...

First of all thank you for this very interesting blog.

The J1 presence in North Caucasus region can perhaps be explained by Christian Ghassani Arabs taking refuge there (source=the Arab historian Ibn Said).

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...


The J1 presence in the North Caucuses region would seem a poor fit for Christian Ghassani Arabs refugee populations, as the populations where it most common speak North Caucasian languages, rather than Semitic languages and practice Islam. The Caucuses are one of the few places where migations of outsiders did not cause of the loss of non-Indo-European, non-Turkic, non-Semitic languages, although linguistic connections to the Hurrian people of the Zargos Mountains have been suggested and would fit high frequency of J1 haplotypes.

The speakers of the North Caucasian languages are usually believed to be the autochthonous food producing peoples of the region, which would suggest a migration there around the time of the Near Eastern Neolithic revolution (i.e. 6000 BCE or so) or earlier.

A minority Arab presence in Christian Armenia and Georgia, however, would make sense, as Arabs were the ruling class in Georgia for a century and a half starting in the 7th century CE, although the North Caucuses are also a possible source of J1 in the Western Caucuses. But, this would have to compete with or complement the possibility of low levels of admixture over many centuries with North Caucusians.


J1 is common in among certain subgroups in the North Caucuses, such as the Daghestanis.

Arab is an ethnic and geographic locator rather than a religious one; it certainly pre-dates Islam. In the Bronze Age and earlier, however, it might be more accurate to consider ancestral Semitic language speakers to be "Semites" rather than Arabs, as Jewish and Arab populations would have been a single population, with the Arabic language itself probably not distinct from Aramaic and Hebrew until about 750 BCE.

The Islamic empire is also hardly blown out of proportion. It reached at its peak from Morocco and Spain to Indonesia and the Phillipines, and its legacy remains one of the most important political realities of our day. Hundreds of millions of people now speak a language once spoken by a fairly small group of wandering herders in Southwest Asia.

The Arab dominated Islamic empire was at least as important in perserving classical knowledge as Christian monks and everyone in the world uses the number system that this empire created. And, Ibn Said is considerably more reliable as a source than, for example, Marco Polo who appears to have flat out lied in most of his writing about events he claimed to have experienced first hand.

Rodrigo de Luz said...

"Genetic structure of Western Caucasus populations..." Please, where could I find the full text of this source. Thanks.