Mitochondrial DNA survey of some Altaic peoples in the broader context

21 Mar
The authors of this open-access paper surveyed Kazakhs from Altai and Barguts from Inner Mongolia, comparing them with previous data of other nearby peoples and even the distant Iranians.
The really novel data is of course in the list of mtDNA haplogroups found among these two populations, which is listed in table 1. While Kazakhs have 40% of Western lineages (H, U, J and others), the Barguts only display some 8% (exclusively U and HV clades).
In addition they perform a somewhat interesting comparison with other populations, mostly other Altaic-speakers:

Fig. 1 – PC analysis, color-coded for languages

The two clusters marked in the PC1-2 graph also appear in the PC2-3 graph, what means that they are very homogeneous in fact. Maybe the Sojots were once Mongol speakers and the Turkic speakers grouped with Evenks and Todjins were once Tungusic speakers, I guess.
Also the paper provides what they claim to be a complete tree of haplogroup B4’5:

Fig. 3 – click to expand

Red: East Asian, Orange and Yellow: SE Asian, Blue: North Asian, Purple: Native American

See original for full legend

The also provide some potentially very useful information on haplogroups R9c (including F), N9a, M9, M10, M11 and M13’46’61 (found as singletons in the sampled populations), for which they provide phylogenetic trees in the supplementary materials.
Very brief notes on these:
  • R9c1 (the sibling of F) is most common in Philippines (3.3–5.7%) and Abor (11%). Frequencies decay as we move northwards.
  • F2 is most common in Thailand (2.4–5.4%) and then in China (1.9–3.3%). The Bargut singleton branch is apparently a new clade (F2e proposed)
  • N9a is most common in Japan (4.6%), Korea (3.9%), China (2.8%) and Mongolia (2.1%), with less important presence in Island SE Asia and Eastern Europe.
  • M10 is a rare East Asian clade with very rare cases in East Europe.
  • M11 is also a rare East Asian clade found from Altai to Japan.
  • M13 has two branches, one (M13a) most diverse in Tibet (and often found in East Asia) while the other one (M13b) is restricted to Malaysian aboriginal peoples.
  • M9 also has two branches: E is found essentially in Island SE Asia and Taiwan aborigines, while M9a’b is apparently also centered in Tibet and scattered through East Asia and Hymalayan parts of South Asia. They propose that M9a1a1 spread to North Asia from South China after the LGM (note: I do not necessarily subscribe this age estimate).

Update (May 23):

In order to illustrate the discussion (see comments) I made this map of the “Evenk cluster” which I suspect was first Evenk-speaker or otherwise ethnically homogeneous before the Turkic expansion (since less than 2000 years ago):

The most notable feature is that it seems to be more northernly or oriented to Central Siberia than the other populations. It’s a Siberian-Taiga specific cluster, while most of the other Altaic populations are steppe dwellers instead. Compare with this map of the taiga:

They overlap very well, right?

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in China, East Asia, mtDNA, Siberia


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