The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Preliminary Research on Hereditary Features of Yinxu Population


1College of Humanities, Jilin University, 2College of Life Science, Jilin University, 3Institute of Archaeology, CASS, 4Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology, Jilin University

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Yinxu was the capital during the last phase of the Shang dynasty (ca. 1250-1050 B.C.), located northwest of Anyang city in Henan province, China. It is one of the oldest and largest archeological sites in China, famous for the discovery of China oldest writing evidence, the oracular bones. Until today, no DNA research had been made on the human remains of Yinxu.

The 37 individuals sampled in this study have been discovered in middle to small size burials, and therefore constitute a representative sample to study Yinxu commoners’ society. Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed that the Yinxu population included the haplogroups D, G, A, C, Z, M10, M*, B, F and N9a. According to the analysis of molecular variance, the distribution frequency and the rare published data, the Yinxu population shows a closest genetic affinity with the populations of Dadianzi and Zhukaigou early Bronze Age sites (Inner Mongolia), but a more distant relation to the historical period populations. The Yinxu population is also very similar to the modern northern Han Chinese.

The archaeological and anthropological evidence show that the society of Yinxu was composed of individuals coming from various regions. The comparison of the genetic traits of Yinxu population to the modern northern Han Chinese population shows that Yinxu population significantly contributed to the formation of the matrilineal genetic heritage of the modern northern Han Chinese population. The Y-chromosome DNA research is still ongoing, and will provide more genetic information of Yinxu residents soon.

This study was supported by the graduate school of Jilin University, National Philosophy and Social Science Foundation (Grant number: 11&zd182).

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