Ancestry and demography and descendants of Iron Age nomads of the Eurasian Steppe

Martina Unterländer, Friso Palstra, Iosif Lazaridis, Aleksandr Pilipenko, Zuzana Hofmanová, Melanie Groß, Christian Sell, Jens Blöcher, Karola Kirsanow, Nadin Rohland, Benjamin Rieger, Elke Kaiser, Wolfram Schier, Dimitri Pozdniakov, Aleksandr Khokhlov, Myriam Georges, Sandra Wilde, Adam Powell, Evelyne Heyer, Mathias CurratDavid Reich, Zainolla Samashev, Hermann Parzinger, Vyacheslav I. Molodin, Joachim Burger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    During the 1 st millennium before the Common Era (BCE), nomadic tribes associated with the Iron Age Scythian culture spread over the Eurasian Steppe, covering a territory of more than 3,500 km in breadth. To understand the demographic processes behind the spread of the Scythian culture, we analysed genomic data from eight individuals and a mitochondrial dataset of 96 individuals originating in eastern and western parts of the Eurasian Steppe. Genomic inference reveals that Scythians in the east and the west of the steppe zone can best be described as a mixture of Yamnaya-related ancestry and an East Asian component. Demographic modelling suggests independent origins for eastern and western groups with ongoing gene-flow between them, plausibly explaining the striking uniformity of their material culture. We also find evidence that significant gene-flow from east to west Eurasia must have occurred early during the Iron Age.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number14615
    Pages (from-to)14615
    Number of pages10
    JournalNature Communications
    Volume8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2017

    Keywords

    • Asian Continental Ancestry Group/genetics
    • DNA, Mitochondrial/genetics
    • Datasets as Topic
    • European Continental Ancestry Group/genetics
    • Gene Flow
    • Genetic Variation/genetics
    • Grassland
    • History, Ancient
    • Human Migration/history
    • Humans
    • Kazakhstan
    • Male
    • Models, Statistical
    • Russia
    • Transients and Migrants/history
    • CENTRAL-ASIAN POPULATIONS
    • MTDNA
    • POSITIVE SELECTION
    • EAST
    • BRONZE-AGE
    • MIGRATIONS
    • GENETIC-ANALYSIS
    • ADMIXTURE
    • MITOCHONDRIAL-DNA
    • HISTORY

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