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Thread: Origins of the Indo-Europeans based on autosomal analysis

  1. #1
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    Post Origins of the Indo-Europeans based on autosomal analysis



    I have perused through the data of the Dodecad Project v3 and something struck me when I saw the percentage of West European, East European, Mediterranean and West Asian admixtures among Siberian, Central Asian and South Asian peoples. Most Asian populations have more West European than East European admixture, even though R1a is far more common in North, Central and South Asia than R1b. It would make sense to deduce that most of the European admixture in Asia is East European. It doesn't seem to be the case at all. Only in some Siberian tribes is the East European component the higher than the West European (though not by much).

    In addition, the West Asian component is found everywhere too, and typically exceeds both the East and West European percentages. This is to be expected in South Asia because of the proximity of West Asia, reinforced by the Demic diffusion of agriculture from West Asia towards India. A considerable amount of West Asian genes must consequently have been present in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan before the Indo-European invasions. This would also have included some Mediterranean admixture, which accounts for approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of of West Asian admixture in Turks, Assyrians, South Caucasians and Iranians. This explains why South Asians have more Mediterranean admixture than North-East Asians. West Asian and Mediterranean go hand in hand.

    To assess the actual percentage that is pre-Indo-European, the best way is to compare the proportion of West Asian admixture found in Central and North Asians in relation to West European, East European and Mediterranean admixture. We see that Uzbeks have a considerable 25% of West Asian, but that is because they are still close to West Asia. Kyrgyzstani, on the edge of the Himalayas, only have 9.5%, the same proportion as West European. North-East Asians also have a comparable proportion of West Asian, West European and East European. Only the Mediterranean element is noticeably lower everywhere, but always present, even in northern Siberia.

    The original Indo-European population that expanded from the Pontic-Caspian steppes to North and Central Asia must therefore have consisted of an admixture of people made up roughly of 30% West European, 30% East European, 30% West Asian and 10% Mediterranean. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any population left today with such proportion. The Balkan sample is close, but has too much Mediterranean (31%) and not enough West Asian (13%). All Caucasus populations as well as Turks have far too much West Asian (4% for Turks and over 55% for Caucasians). We could imagine that Caucasian populations got some extra West Asian admixture in the last 4000 years, for instance when Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, then Arabs conquered the region. But cutting the percentage of West Asian doesn't solve the problem. South Caucasians (Georgians, Armenians, Turks) have too much Mediterranean in proportion to West and East European. North Caucasians (Lezgins, Agygei) have far too much West European admixture (a remarkable fact in itself considering the eastern position of the Caucasus).

    In Europe itself, Germans and Poles have a reasonably well balanced proportion of all components, except the West Asian one which is too low (6% and 3% respectively). Russians are too East European (49%). However, if we assume that ancient North Caucasian people had less West Asian admixture, and we mix them with either the Poles or the Russians, the new admixture will have pretty much the right proportions of the four components. This would confirm my theory that Proto-Indo-Europeans are an admixture of R1b (West European), R1a (East European) and G2a (Caucasian) people. The lower proportion of West Asian Y-chromosomes compared to the autosomal admixture might be explained either by a genetic predisposition of haplogroup R (both R1a and R1b) to produce more sons, or by an early conquest of R1b people of Caucasian tribes, in which they men were killed or enslaved and the women taken as wives by R1b men. If R1b was originally identical to West Asian autosomes, then the percentage of West Asian autosomes would be much higher in Western Europe.


    DATA

    To make it easier to visualise the data I have colourised the percentages by region, using the colours of Y-DNA haplogroups used on this website that I associate most with each regional admixture, namely :

    - the red of R1b for West Europeans
    - the yellow of R1a for East Europeans
    - the dark blue of I2a for Mediterraneans
    - the grey of G2a for West Asians (could as well have been the green of J2 but I keep green for Southwest Asians)

    West European / East European / Mediterranean / West Asian

    North-East Asia

    Altai : 9.3 / 7.9 / 1.1 / 6.8
    Dolgan : 7.1 / 8.6 / 3 / 3.2
    Buryat : 1.7 / 3.5 / 1.3 / 4
    Mongol : 4.9 / 4.9 / 2.8 / 5.7

    Central Asia

    Uzbek : 10.7 / 10.2 / 3.5 / 25.5
    Kyrgyzstani : 9.1 / 7.2 / 2.4 / 9.5

    South Asia

    Pathan : 12.5 / 7 / 7.8 / 25.6
    Kalash : 12 / 3.8 / 0.4 / 42.9
    Hazara : 8.1 /6.7 / 5.2 / 18.4
    Balochi : 7.1 / 4.8 / 9.2 / 33.6

    Indian_D : 9 / 5.4 / 4.1 / 12.1
    AP Brahmin : 8.4 / 5 / 4.6 / 12
    Tharu : 6.5 / 4.1 / 4.8 / 7.5
    Vaish : 12.3 / 7.4 / 4.8 / 12.3

    Caucasus

    Lezgins : 24.3 / 3.8 / 1.1 / 64.6
    Adygei : 15.7 / 6.5 / 8.3 / 62.9
    Georgians : 5 / 4.1 / 17 / 72.3
    Armenians : 2.1 / 0.8 / 29 / 54
    Last edited by Maciamo; 30-06-11 at 17:03.

  2. #2
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    Interesting analysis. Autosomal DNA is particularly difficult to use to determine migration patterns, so this is a commendable effort. It seems to leave an odd contradiction... while Y-DNA suggests that Eastern Europeans are more closely related to the initial proto-Indo-Europeans than Western Europeans are (in that R1a extends into Asia more significantly than R1b), autosomal DNA does not support that.

    I will say that I don't understand the exercise of trying to find "any population left today with such proportion." Surely we don't expect PIE people to still be around, and all the possible areas of the world in which PIE could have originated have experienced subsequent migrations, and probably genetic shifts, as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    I will say that I don't understand the exercise of trying to find "any population left today with such proportion." Surely we don't expect PIE people to still be around, and all the possible areas of the world in which PIE could have originated have experienced subsequent migrations, and probably genetic shifts, as well.
    Obviously the PIE population has dispersed and mixed with other populations. But it is still useful to compare with present-day populations to try to ascertain their region of origin, and what populations mixed to form the unique PIE admixture of 30% West European, 30% East European, 30% West Asian and 10% Mediterranean. We would expect populations 6000 years ago to be more homogeneous than modern populations, as more blending takes place over time. Yet, surprisingly, places settled by the Indo-Europeans show that they were themselves already a complex admixture of (at least) 4 populations. I am trying to find out how, when and where this happened.

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    Good read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    We would expect populations 6000 years ago to be more homogeneous than modern populations, as more blending takes place over time. Yet, surprisingly, places settled by the Indo-Europeans show that they were themselves already a complex admixture of (at least) 4 populations. I am trying to find out how, when and where this happened.

    Very interesting group of questions. I'd be interested in reading theories on this.

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    PIE Admixture

    Very interesting thread. You are probably right that that the original PIE were a mix of all four components. It seems to me though that autosomal studies are still quite flawed. I mean it doesn't make much sense that all of these Siberian and Asian peoples are showing up with such high proportions of western European admixture when we know for a fact, because Ydna is much more definite, That they are related to eastern Europeans through Y-dna, and that geographically they are much closer to E.U than W.E. I think you are probably quite close to the original percentages of PIE. It will be interesting to see if future studies prove you correct.

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