February 08, 2012

Links between Native Americans and southern Altaians

AJHG doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.12.014,

Mitochondrial DNA and Y Chromosome Variation Provides Evidence for a Recent Common Ancestry between Native Americans and Indigenous Altaians

Matthew C. Dulik et al.

The Altai region of southern Siberia has played a critical role in the peopling of northern Asia as an entry point into Siberia and a possible homeland for ancestral Native Americans. It has an old and rich history because humans have inhabited this area since the Paleolithic. Today, the Altai region is home to numerous Turkic-speaking ethnic groups, which have been divided into northern and southern clusters based on linguistic, cultural, and anthropological traits. To untangle Altaian genetic histories, we analyzed mtDNA and Y chromosome variation in northern and southern Altaian populations. All mtDNAs were assayed by PCR-RFLP analysis and control region sequencing, and the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome was scored for more than 100 biallelic markers and 17 Y-STRs. Based on these data, we noted differences in the origin and population history of Altaian ethnic groups, with northern Altaians appearing more like Yeniseian, Ugric, and Samoyedic speakers to the north, and southern Altaians having greater affinities to other Turkic speaking populations of southern Siberia and Central Asia. Moreover, high-resolution analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has allowed us to reshape the phylogeny of this branch, making connections between populations of the New World and Old World more apparent and demonstrating that southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor. These results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of Siberia and the Americas.



Mike Keesey said...

Consistent with the Dené–Yeniseian language family.

pconroy said...


Don't they link Native Americans to Southern Altaians, Yenesei would be Northern Altaians?!

I think for the purposes of this paper, they may not be using Dene speakers?

eurologist said...

Makes a lot of sense, given that archaeology shows the earliest settlement path in Siberia moving East toward Beringia, rather than up along the coast line.

As I have often stated, to me the more fascinating question is how the people got there (~40,000-50,000ya?) and into Siberia, in the first place (presumably from South Asia) - especially since there is little in common with migrations that ended up farther west and ultimately in Europe (with the exception of some common mtDNA lineages).

Unknown said...

Inconsistent. As it is the southern Siberian (turkic) group showing Y chromosome affinity. Not the northern Siberian Yeniseian group.

But IMO there were multiple waves into America. I dont think this is the end of the story. Y chromosome data is really just too unstable for reliable population studies.

Mike Keesey said...

Whoops, misread.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

This study is vary hard to evaluate without better data about the particular New World populations used in the comparison.

terryt said...

This is basically what the 1999 Karafet paper claimed:


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