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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Modern-day Poles vs Bronze Age peoples of the East Baltic

Below are three of my staple Principal Component Analyses (PCA) featuring Baltic Bronze Age (Baltic_BA) samples from the recent Mittnik et al. 2018 paper (open access here). On each of the plots I've also highlighted modern-day Balts and Poles. The latter two PCA also include most of the other ancients from the said paper (listed here). They're not highlighted, but all of the relevant datasheets are available here, here and here, and easy to plot with the Past software.

No doubt, these Bronze Age peoples of the East Baltic, and in particular the four individuals from Turlojiske, Lithuania, are very closely related to modern-day Balts and northern Slavs. They may well be our ancestors, or at least close relatives thereof. This is argued and demonstrated well enough by Mittnik et al., and it clearly shows in my PCA, especially the first one, which is designed to focus on entho-linguistic-specific genetic drift in Northern Europe.

Nevertheless, overall, they do clearly show a higher cut of indigenous European Hunter-Gatherer ancestry relative to modern-day Northeast Europeans (note how in the second PCA the Baltic_BA samples pull towards the European Hunter-Gatherers compared to Balts and especially Poles). I'm not exactly sure what the explanation is for this yet. Indeed, there might be several different explanations. But generally speaking, it's probably in large part the result of post-Bronze Age gene flow into the Baltic region from Central Europe.

See also...

Early Baltic Corded Ware form a genetic clade with Yamnaya, but...

The genetic history of Northern Europe (or rather the South Baltic)

Genetic and linguistic structure across space and time in Northern Europe

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

On the genomic history of North Eurasia (Triska et al. 2017)

Over at BMC Genetics at this LINK. The accompanying dataset is freely available here, although it includes less than 300K SNPs, so the overlap with the Human Origins and EGDP datasets isn't great. Emphasis is mine:

Background: The history of human populations occupying the plains and mountain ridges separating Europe from Asia has been eventful, as these natural obstacles were crossed westward by multiple waves of Turkic and Uralic-speaking migrants as well as eastward by Europeans. Unfortunately, the material records of history of this region are not dense enough to reconstruct details of population history. These considerations stimulate growing interest to obtain a genetic picture of the demographic history of migrations and admixture in Northern Eurasia.

Results: We genotyped and analyzed 1076 individuals from 30 populations with geographical coverage spanning from Baltic Sea to Baikal Lake. Our dense sampling allowed us to describe in detail the population structure, provide insight into genomic history of numerous European and Asian populations, and significantly increase quantity of genetic data available for modern populations in region of North Eurasia. Our study doubles the amount of genome-wide profiles available for this region.

We detected unusually high amount of shared identical-by-descent (IBD) genomic segments between several Siberian populations, such as Khanty and Ket, providing evidence of genetic relatedness across vast geographic distances and between speakers of different language families. Additionally, we observed excessive IBD sharing between Khanty and Bashkir, a group of Turkic speakers from Southern Urals region. While adding some weight to the “Finno-Ugric” origin of Bashkir, our studies highlighted that the Bashkir genepool lacks the main “core”, being a multi-layered amalgamation of Turkic, Ugric, Finnish and Indo-European contributions, which points at intricacy of genetic interface between Turkic and Uralic populations. Comparison of the genetic structure of Siberian ethnicities and the geography of the region they inhabit point at existence of the “Great Siberian Vortex” directing genetic exchanges in populations across the Siberian part of Asia.

Slavic speakers of Eastern Europe are, in general, very similar in their genetic composition. Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians have almost identical proportions of Caucasus and Northern European components and have virtually no Asian influence. We capitalized on wide geographic span of our sampling to address intriguing question about the place of origin of Russian Starovers, an enigmatic Eastern Orthodox Old Believers religious group relocated to Siberia in seventeenth century. A comparative reAdmix analysis, complemented by IBD sharing, placed their roots in the region of the Northern European Plain, occupied by North Russians and Finno-Ugric Komi and Karelian people. Russians from Novosibirsk and Russian Starover exhibit ancestral proportions close to that of European Eastern Slavs, however, they also include between five to 10 % of Central Siberian ancestry, not present at this level in their European counterparts.

Conclusions: Our project has patched the hole in the genetic map of Eurasia: we demonstrated complexity of genetic structure of Northern Eurasians, existence of East-West and North-South genetic gradients, and assessed different inputs of ancient populations into modern populations.

Triska et al., Between Lake Baikal and the Baltic Sea: genomic history of the gateway to Europe, BMC Genetics, 2017 18(Suppl 1):110,