Complete mitogenomes document substantial genetic contribution from the Eurasian Step


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Complete mitogenomes document substantial genetic contribution from the Eurasian Steppe into northern Pakistani Indo-Iranian speakers

  • Zia Ur Rahman,
  • Jiao-Yang Tian,
  • Zong-Liang Gao,
  • Hao-Tian Wang,
  • Wang-Xiao Xia,
  • Bin-Yu Yang,
  • Li-Qin Yang,
  • Yu-Chun Li &
  • Qing-Peng Kong
European Journal of Human Genetics (2021)Cite this article


To elucidate whether Bronze Age population dispersals from the Eurasian Steppe to South Asia contributed to the gene pool of Indo-Iranian-speaking groups, we analyzed 19,568 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from northern Pakistani and surrounding populations, including 213 newly generated mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) from Iranian and Dardic groups, both speakers from the ancient Indo-Iranian branch in northern Pakistan. Our results showed that 23% of mtDNA lineages with west Eurasian origin arose in situ in northern Pakistan since ~5000 years ago (kya), a time depth very close to the documented Indo-European dispersals into South Asia during the Bronze Age. Together with ancient mitogenomes from western Eurasia since the Neolithic, we identified five haplogroups (~8.4% of maternal gene pool) with roots in the Steppe region and subbranches arising (age ~5–2 kya old) in northern Pakistan as genetic legacies of Indo-Iranian speakers. Some of these haplogroups, such as W3a1b that have been found in the ancient samples from the late Bronze Age to the Iron Age period individuals of Swat Valley northern Pakistan, even have sub-lineages (age ~4 kya old) in the southern subcontinent, consistent with the southward spread of Indo-Iranian languages. By showing that substantial genetic components of Indo-Iranian speakers in northern Pakistan can be traced to Bronze Age in the Steppe region, our study suggests a demographic link with the spread of Indo-Iranian languages, and further highlights the corridor role of northern Pakistan in the southward dispersal of Indo-Iranian-speaking groups.


from supplementry material :

These results provide support that haplogroups H2a1a, J1b1a1, and U4a1 and sub-branches of W3a1, e.g., W3a1a and W3a1b, represent genetic components originating from the Steppe during the Bronze Age, which plausibly indicates that the genetic legacy of IE speakers is still retained in the gene pool of northern Pakistani populations.
Very interesting indeed. I was just discussing on another thread that there would be more steppe ancestry the further north you go in South Asia. This is about as far north as you can go.

Not as impressed by the admixture chart using other modern populations, even within the same "grouping". When will people stop doing this?

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