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Ancient DNA provides insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people

Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people

Christine Keyser · Caroline Bouakaze ·Eric Crubézy · Valery G. Nikolaev · Daniel Montagnon ·Tatiana Reis · Bertrand Ludes

Received: 6 February 2009 / Accepted: 6 May 2009 © Springer-Verlag 2009

Abstract

To help unravel some of the early Eurasian steppe migration movements, we determined the Y-chromosomal
and mitochondrial haplotypes and haplogroups of 26 ancient human specimens from the Krasnoyarsk area
dated from between the middle of the second millennium BC. to the fourth century AD. In order to go further in the
search of the geographic origin and physical traits of these south Siberian specimens, we also typed phenotype-informative single nucleotide polymorphisms. Our autosomal,Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA analyses reveal
that whereas few specimens seem to be related matrilineally or patrilineally, nearly all subjects belong to haplogroup
R1a1-M17 which is thought to mark the eastward migration of the early Indo-Europeans. Our results also conWrm that at the Bronze and Iron Ages, south Siberia was a region of overwhelmingly predominant European settlement,
suggesting an eastward migration of Kurgan people across the Russo-Kazakh steppe. Finally, our data indicate
that at the Bronze and Iron Age timeframe, south Siberians were blue (or green)-eyed, fair-skinned and light-haired
people and that they might have played a role in the early development of the Tarim Basin civilization. To the best of
our knowledge, no equivalent molecular analysis has been undertaken so far.

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