Mol Biol Evol (2011) doi: 10.1093/molbev/msr126

Parallel Evolution of Genes and Languages in the Caucasus Region

Oleg Balanovsky1,2,*, Khadizhat Dibirova1,*, Anna Dybo3, Oleg Mudrak4, Svetlana Frolova1, Elvira Pocheshkhova5, Marc Haber6, Daniel Platt7, Theodore Schurr8, Wolfgang Haak9, Marina Kuznetsova1, Magomed Radzhabov1, Olga Balaganskaya1,2, Alexey Romanov1, Tatiana Zakharova1, David F. Soria Hernanz10,11, Pierre Zalloua6, Sergey Koshel12, Merritt Ruhlen13, Colin Renfrew14, R. Spencer Wells10, Chris Tyler-Smith15, Elena Balanovska1 and The Genographic Consortium16

We analyzed 40 SNP and 19 STR Y-chromosomal markers in a large sample of 1,525 indigenous individuals from 14 populations in the Caucasus and 254 additional individuals representing potential source populations. We also employed a lexicostatistical approach to reconstruct the history of the languages of the North Caucasian family spoken by the Caucasus populations. We found a different major haplogroup to be prevalent in each of four sets of populations that occupy distinct geographic regions and belong to different linguistic branches. The haplogroup frequencies correlated with geography and, even more strongly, with language. Within haplogroups, a number of haplotype clusters were shown to be specific to individual populations and languages. The data suggested a direct origin of Caucasus male lineages from the Near East, followed by high levels of isolation, differentiation and genetic drift in situ. Comparison of genetic and linguistic reconstructions covering the last few millennia showed striking correspondences between the topology and dates of the respective gene and language trees, and with documented historical events. Overall, in the Caucasus region, unmatched levels of gene-language co-evolution occurred within geographically isolated populations, probably due to its mountainous terrain.


Mol Biol Evol (2011) doi: 10.1093/molbev/msr221

The Caucasus as an asymmetric semipermeable barrier to ancient human migrations

Bayazit Yunusbayev et al.

AbstractThe Caucasus, inhabited by modern humans since the Early Upper Paleolithic and known for its linguistic diversity, is considered to be important for understanding human dispersals and genetic diversity in Eurasia. We report a synthesis of autosomal, Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in populations from all major subregions and linguistic phyla of the area. Autosomal genome variation in the Caucasus reveals significant genetic uniformity among its ethnically and linguistically diverse populations, and is consistent with predominantly Near/Middle Eastern origin of the Caucasians, with minor external impacts. In contrast to autosomal and mtDNA variation, signals of regional Y chromosome founder effects distinguish the eastern from western North Caucasians. Genetic discontinuity between the North Caucasus and the East European Plain contrasts with continuity through Anatolia and the Balkans, suggesting major routes of ancient gene flows and admixture.

Perhaps these can be subsumed under the Armenian Plateau post...if these have not been posted already. If they have been posted already...just tell me and this post will be deleted.