The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)


Genetic snapshot from ancient nomads of Xinjiang

HONGJIE LI1, SHIZHU GAO2, CHUNXIANG LI1, YE ZHANG1, WEN ZENG3, DONG WEI3 and HUI ZHOU1,3.

1College of Life Science, Jilin University, 2College of Pharmacia Science, Jilin University, 3Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology, Jilin University

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Nomads of the Eurasian steppes are known to have played an important role in the transfer commodities and culture among East Asia, Central Asia, and Europe. However, the organization of nomadic societies and initial population genetic composition of nomads were still poorly understoodbecause of few archaeological materials and written history.

In this study, the genetic snapshot of nomads was emerged by examining mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA of 30 human remains from Heigouliang (HGL) site in the eastern of Xinjiang, which dated 2000 years ago and associated to the nomadic culture by archaeological studies. Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed that the HGL population included both East Eurasian haplogroups (A, C, D, G, F and Z) and West Eurasian haplogroups (H, K, J, M5 and H). The component of Eastern haplogroups is dominant. The distribution frequency and Fst values of Eastern haplogroups indicated the HGL population presented close genetic affinity to the nearby region modern populations of Gansu and Qinghai, while those of western haplogroups showed similar with Mongolia and Siberia populations. The results implied various maternal lineages were introduced into the HGL population. Regarding the Y chromosomal DNA analysis, nearly all samples belonged to haplogroup Q which is thought to be the mark of the Northern Asian nomads. We identified paternal kinship among three individuals at the same tomb by Y-STR marker.

Combined with archaeological and anthropological investigations, we inferred that the gene flow from the neighboring regions possibly associated with the expansion of Xiongnu Empire.

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