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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

R1a-Z93 in ancient DNA from Bronze Age Mongolia

Four out of the eight Bronze Age Altaian Y-chromosomes in this paper at FSI: Genetics belonged to haplogroup R1a-Z93 (frequency map here). Moreover, one of the R1a-Z93 samples carried markers for blue eyes and brown hair, and another for dark blond or brown hair. The single Copper Age (or Eneolithic) individual belonged to Y-chromosome haplogroup Q-M242 and was inferred to have dark hair and eyes.

Interestingly, one of the Bronze Age females belonged to an European-specific lineage within mitochondrial haplogroup H1b, with five modern matches in Poland and one in Portugal. But this isn't the first time that an ancient European-like population has been detected deep in Asia (see here and here). It's a pity that a full genome or two weren't featured in this study, but hopefully we won't have to wait long for that. Here's the paper abstract:

The Altai Mountains have been a long term boundary zone between the Eurasian Steppe populations and South and East Asian populations. To disentangle some of the historical population movements in this area, 14 ancient human specimens excavated in the westernmost part of the Mongolian Altai were studied. Thirteen of them were dated from the Middle to the End of the Bronze Age and one of them to the Eneolithic period. The environmental conditions encountered in this region led to the good preservation of DNA in the human remains. Therefore, a multi-markers approach was adopted for the genetic analysis of identity, ancestry and phenotype markers. Mitochondrial DNA analyses revealed that the ancient Altaians studied carried both Western (H, U, T) and Eastern (A, C, D) Eurasian lineages. In the same way, the patrilineal gene pool revealed the presence of different haplogroups (Q1a2a1-L54, R1a1a1b2-Z93 and C), probably marking different origins for the male paternal lineages. To go further in the search of the origin of these ancient specimens, phenotypical characters (ie: hair and eye colour) were determined. For this purpose, we adapted the HIrisPlex assay recently described to MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. In addition, some ancestry informative markers were analyzed with this assay. The results revealed mixed phenotypes among this group confirming the probable admixed ancestry of the studied Altaian population at the Middle Bronze Age. The good results obtained from ancient DNA samples suggest that this approach might be relevant for forensic casework too.

Hollard et al., Strong genetic admixture in the Altai at the Middle Bronze Age revealed by uniparental and ancestry informative markers, Forensic Science International: Genetics, published online 04 June 2014, doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2014.05.012


Daniel Szelkey said...

Is a new study that shakes the phylogeny of haplogroup K y-dna.

Here is the supplementary data
But its worthless.

truth said...

Polako, what do you make of this : "Two out of three afanasievo remains and one okunevo remains tested R1b1 (M269) and one afanasievan – R1b."

Source (in russian) :

georgy chich said...

truth, You shoudnt trust this data, because they were tested by some Kovalev (archaeologist), an apprentice of Klyosov (quite dubious man)

About Time said...

Would love to know which subgroup of Z93. I'm going out on a limb and placing a bet: the Tarim Z93 will be related to Levite R1a. It will also show up as minority lineage in Iran/Afghan/India. Tocharian - Kushan. All the way back to Cherchen man.

Sounds wacko, but that's my hunch.

Davidski said...

These R1a-Z93 remains are from the middle Bronze Age, so it's unlikely that they belong to any of the recent subclades. I'd say they're Z93* and/or Z94*.

By the way, the rumours of R1b being found among the ancient Afanasevo and Okunevo remains are still just rumours.

On the other hand, there is confirmation of the 3,000 year-old plus R1a from the Tanais site near Rostov-on-Don. But the test was very basic using 17 Y-STR markers. Scroll down to page 70 at the link below...