Estimating the Y-DNA and autosomal admixtures of Yamnaya samples

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We got the first mtDNA samples from the Yamna culture in 2014. These samples are being tested for autosomal DNA and Y-DNA, and the results should hopefully become available in the coming months. So if any of you want to venture a guess about the results, now is the time.

Angela posted this in another thread.

Somewhere I saw a speculation that the Yamnaya people will turn out to be about 50% ENF, 30%ANE, and 20%WHG. Maybe it will be more like 45/30/25, who knows, but still those North Caucasus populations, especially the Lezghins, might be pretty close if those turn out to be the final figures.

I personally don't think that the Lezgins or any modern population can be used as a proxy to the Yamnaya Proto-Indo-European people. The Lezgins, North Ossetians and other North Caucasians with both relatively high percentages of ANE and R1b are at best one quarter Proto-Indo-European genetically, and possibly much less.

I also disagree with the estimation of ENF, ANE, and WHG for Yamnaya people. I actually don't think that there was one homogeneous Yamanya population. The Yamanaya culture had emerged from the merger of three distinct ethnic groups:

1) R1a hunters-gatherers (with I2a minority ?) in the forest-steppe to the north and Volga-Ural region associated with the Mesolithic Dnieper-Donets culture (c. 5000-3500 BCE). They carried a lot of mtDNA U2e, U4 and U5a1, but also with C4a, H6, H11 and W, and possibly H1b, H1c and H2a1 and T1a1a. Originally, before mixing with any other group, these people would have been very high on WHG, with some ANE and a little EEF. Perhaps 60 to 70% WHG and 30 to 40% ANE.

2) The G2a3b1 and J2b2 farmers (with T1a minority ?) from the Carpathians (Cucuteni-Tripyllian) and Balkans (Varna) who spread farming and copper metallurgy to southern Ukraine (Sredny Stog) and the Volga (Samara, Khvalynsk), and possibly also to the Northwest Caucasus (Nalchik). They would have carried the typical Neolithic + Mesolithic Balkanic mtDNA (H1, H5a, H7, H20, K, J1c, N1a, T1a, T2a1, T2b, X2). Originally, these people were probably 90% EEF and 10% WHG.

3) R1b cattle herders (with T1a minority ?) from eastern Anatolia, who migrated to the North Caucasus and the north of the Black Sea. This is the most enigmatic of the three populations as we have no idea of how much R1b people intermixed with local populations in South Asia and the Middle East before moving across the Caucasus, and how much they mixed with Caucasian people along the way and while they lived in the North Caucasus. Retracing mtDNA lineages associated with R1b was a very arduous task because R1b men migrated so much and mixed with completely different people every time they moved. By my own reckoning, the earliest R1b people that should appear north of the Caucasus should carry at least mtDNA haplogroup H8, H15, J1b1a and U5, but probably also J2b1 and some I, K, T and W subclades. If they arrived relatively unmixed with Caucasian populations, they could have something like 30-40% ANE, 30-40% WHG and about 30% EEF. But I admit that it's highly speculative compared to the two others.


It's very hard to give an estimate of percentages to expect in Yamnaya samples because it really depends how the location and period of the sample and much each group had already intermixed with the others. Since the intermingling of the three populations was happening at different rates in various part of the wide-ranging Yamnaya horizon, we could expect to find very different admixtures in samples from Crimea, Cherkasy, Rostov, Volgograd or Samara.

Based on the few Yamna samples already tested, it seems like R1a tribes were not very much involved in the mix. U4 and C4a are much higher in the subsequent Catacomb culture, which implies a massive migration of R1a tribes to the southern steppe right after the Yamna period, perhaps to fill the vacuum left by the migration of R1b tribes to the Balkans and Central Europe. However, the Corded Ware also originated in the (northern) Yamna culture and was undeniably linked to R1a. This is why I think that northern and southern Yamna people could have had quite different DNA.


I have made a map to visualize better the merger of the three populations. This represents the situation in the 5th and early 4th century BCE, before the Yamna period.

Pre-Yamna_haplogroups.png
 
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Laz at a conference months ago said Yamna can be modeled as 50% Armenian and 50% EHG(Mesolithic East Euro). Based on other leaks, the mainstream view is that Yamna was around 55% EEF, 25% ANE, and 20% WHG, in Laz terms. In ANE K8 terms; 40% Near eastern, 35% WHG 25% ANE.

The youngest pre-IE samples from west Europe have alot of WHG, around as high as it gets today, and so Yamna doesn't have to have high WHG to explain current levals.
 
Obviously by the time IEs got to west Europe they weren't pure Yamna, and I think they were very similar to modern central-north Europeans.

I think this because Bronze age Hungarians cluster in-between Basque and NW Europeans, and CWC and Bell beaker-Unetice(ancestral to Balto-Slavs, Germans, Italics, Celts) according to a leak cluster with North-central Europeans on PCAs. Because bronze age IEs hadn't migrated west to Ireland(for example), and are very similar genetically to Irish, Ireland was probably largely repopulated by IEs.
 
I think its interesting to include the anthropology too. Below is a post from the dienekes blog circa 2006.

The Corded Ware culture includes about twenty variants (Sveshnikov 1974) and occupies predominantly Central Europe, Scandinavia, Sub-Carpathia and also the Upper Volga (Fig. 1). It was formed in Central Europe, in an area of special concentration of qute distinct cultures of different origins, including those from Mediterranean and North-Baltic regions of Europe. Bearers of the southern LBK (Roessen, Tisza, Lengyel, etc) were engaged in cattle-breeding, had developed ceramic production, and were familiar with plastic arts. They buried their dead in the flexed position on the right or left side. Generally it was a comparatively gracile short people of the Mediterranean (South Europoid) anthropological type.

Peoples of the Baltic circle of cultures (Ertebo/lle) were hunters and fishermen, and produced only one or two pottery forms. This was a rather tall, broad-faced population of the North Europoid type, who buried their dead in the extended position on the back.

Certain cultures of syncretic appearance involving Northern and Southern features were formed in Central Europe and the Baltic during the 4th-3rd millennium BC, e.g. Comb Ware, TRB, and Globular Amphora cultures. During the Early Bronze Age these cultures were displaced by the Corded Ware (Battle Axe) culture characterized by flexed inhumation on the back or side under a barrow. Specifically, this culture embraces both bottle-like vessels and bowls with funnel-like neck of the Northern circle of cultures, and also vessels of the Danubian type. In an anthropological sense this population combines traits of southern gracile and northern massive types, in particular bearers of TRB culture (Schwidetzky 1978).

...

The Yamna culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe is recorded for an enormous territory between the North-Western Pontic area and Trans-Uralia. Its sites are known here in the basin of the Emba and Tobol rivers, the Karaganda region and further eastward (Merpert 1974). The Yamna population generally belongs to the European race. It was tall (175.5cm), dolichocephalic, with broad faces of medium height. Among them there were, however, more robust elements with high and wide faces of the proto-Europoid type, and also more gracile individuals with narrow and high faces, probably reflecting contacts with the East Mediterranean type (Kurts 1984: 90).

http://dienekes.blogspot.ca/2006/05/anthropological-types-of-corded-ware.html
 
It is logical to asume that Yamnaya were a mixture of several Y-DNA clades.
However it does not explain why R1b is so overwhelming in western Europe, and why the Indo-European bronze age spread eastward was so strong correlated with R1a.
Unless if there were tribes with different Y-DNA origins, but the tribes didn't interchange their Y-DNA.
 
I think its interesting to include the anthropology too. Below is a post from the dienekes blog circa 2006.

The Corded Ware culture includes about twenty variants (Sveshnikov 1974) and occupies predominantly Central Europe, Scandinavia, Sub-Carpathia and also the Upper Volga (Fig. 1). It was formed in Central Europe, in an area of special concentration of qute distinct cultures of different origins, including those from Mediterranean and North-Baltic regions of Europe. Bearers of the southern LBK (Roessen, Tisza, Lengyel, etc) were engaged in cattle-breeding, had developed ceramic production, and were familiar with plastic arts. They buried their dead in the flexed position on the right or left side. Generally it was a comparatively gracile short people of the Mediterranean (South Europoid) anthropological type.

Peoples of the Baltic circle of cultures (Ertebo/lle) were hunters and fishermen, and produced only one or two pottery forms. This was a rather tall, broad-faced population of the North Europoid type, who buried their dead in the extended position on the back.

Certain cultures of syncretic appearance involving Northern and Southern features were formed in Central Europe and the Baltic during the 4th-3rd millennium BC, e.g. Comb Ware, TRB, and Globular Amphora cultures. During the Early Bronze Age these cultures were displaced by the Corded Ware (Battle Axe) culture characterized by flexed inhumation on the back or side under a barrow. Specifically, this culture embraces both bottle-like vessels and bowls with funnel-like neck of the Northern circle of cultures, and also vessels of the Danubian type. In an anthropological sense this population combines traits of southern gracile and northern massive types, in particular bearers of TRB culture (Schwidetzky 1978).

...

The Yamna culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe is recorded for an enormous territory between the North-Western Pontic area and Trans-Uralia. Its sites are known here in the basin of the Emba and Tobol rivers, the Karaganda region and further eastward (Merpert 1974). The Yamna population generally belongs to the European race. It was tall (175.5cm), dolichocephalic, with broad faces of medium height. Among them there were, however, more robust elements with high and wide faces of the proto-Europoid type, and also more gracile individuals with narrow and high faces, probably reflecting contacts with the East Mediterranean type (Kurts 1984: 90).

http://dienekes.blogspot.ca/2006/05/anthropological-types-of-corded-ware.html

Bearers of the southern LBK (Roessen, Tisza, Lengyel, etc) were engaged in cattle-breeding

I don't agree. Roessen, Tisza, Lengyel, etc were not LBK
LBK were probably G2a as proven by anciant DNA
Roessen, Tisza, Lengyel, etc involved arrival of new tribes, probably cattle breeders from Anatolia introducing dairy products, as lactose persistence hadn't spread yet.
This being said, LBK people probably didn't disapear with the arrival of the newcomers and probably got incorporated in the new cultures.
 
Laz wrote that the Yamnaya people would be something between 50% "Armenian" and 50% of some Northeast European population. Considering the close to zero WHG in Armenians, the ~50% WHG in Northeast Europeans, That would make some 25% WHG. Early Neolithic farmer in Armenians is ~78% and in the "purest" Northeast Europeans it would be ~25%. Thats ~51% ENF on average. The rest must have been ANE like.
 
1) R1a hunters-gatherers (with I2a minority ?) in the forest-steppe to the north and Volga-Ural region associated with the Mesolithic Dnieper-Donets culture (c. 5000-3500 BCE).
Well, the first R1a in Europe were farmers too. They arrived in Europe after the last Ice Age. R1a in Europe came from West Asia and then heavily mixed with N1c1, I2a, I1 etc. hunters-gatherers. Even before Indo-European R1b and J2a arrived in Europe R1a farmers were alredy mixed with native European N1c1, I1 and I2a folks. I think R1a was already 50% farmers and 40% hunters-gatherers. R1b brought more Central Asian/Gedrosia/ANE component into Europe.
 
It is logical to asume that Yamnaya were a mixture of several Y-DNA clades.
However it does not explain why R1b is so overwhelming in western Europe, and why the Indo-European bronze age spread eastward was so strong correlated with R1a.
Unless if there were tribes with different Y-DNA origins, but the tribes didn't interchange their Y-DNA.
Indo-Europized R1a farmers from Yamna never spread eastward during the Bronze Age. R1a-Z93 in Central Asia is from the Iranian Plateau (BMAC).


"The prevailing Y-chromosome lineage in Pashtun and Tajik (R1a1a-M17), has the highest observed diversity among populations of the Indus Valley [46]. R1a1a-M17 diversity declines toward the Pontic-Caspian steppe where the mid-Holocene R1a1a7-M458 sublineage is dominant [46]. R1a1a7-M458 was absent in Afghanistan, suggesting that R1a1a-M17 does not support, as previously thought [47], expansions from the Pontic Steppe [3], bringing the Indo-European languages to Central Asia and India."


from: Afghanistan's Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0034288
 
Laz wrote that the Yamnaya people would be something between 50% "Armenian" and 50% of some Northeast European population. Considering the close to zero WHG in Armenians, the ~50% WHG in Northeast Europeans, That would make some 25% WHG. Early Neolithic farmer in Armenians is ~78% and in the "purest" Northeast Europeans it would be ~25%. Thats ~51% ENF on average. The rest must have been ANE like.
Yamnaya folks were for a huge parts not Armenian, but basically Iranoid, since proto-Indo-Europeans originally came Leyla-Tepe (South of the Caspian Sea) and not from the Anatolian Plateau! Modern Armenians are hugely mixed with Iranoid folks...
 
It is logical to asume that Yamnaya were a mixture of several Y-DNA clades.
However it does not explain why R1b is so overwhelming in western Europe, and why the Indo-European bronze age spread eastward was so strong correlated with R1a.
Unless if there were tribes with different Y-DNA origins, but the tribes didn't interchange their Y-DNA.

Here's the problem. There is one main European and one main Asia subclade of R1a, with the dividing line being about where Yamnaya was, so the distribution of R1a is easy to understand in terms of IE. However, there are two main subclades of R1b in Europe and the largest one has five subdivision that tend to be concentrated in specific geographic areas. Unless we assume very young ages for all this diversity, it's difficult to make sense of the distribution except by assuming a very old age for R1b that so far isn't supported by old DNA samples, since the oldest R1b found in Europe to date is about 4800 years old. So it will be very interesting when we finally get some Yamnaya samples - I'm expecting R1a and J2 but am very curious as to whether R1b will be there. If there is any R1b there, I hope we get subclade information.
 
Here's the problem. There is one main European and one main Asia subclade of R1a, with the dividing line being about where Yamnaya was, so the distribution of R1a is easy to understand in terms of IE.
There's another problem. :LOL: R1a in Asia predate Yamnaya by thousands of years. R1a was already in SouthCentral Asia before Yamnaya Culture ever existed. I'm R1a and my R1a type is native to West Asia, much, much older than Yamnaya...
 
I think I'll just wait until the results are published. :)

I may be wrong, but I would suggest that the papers we are awaiting might not be very definitive (as definitive as Eurogenes, for example) in terms of an "early near eastern farmer" cluster unless they've gotten hold of an appropriate ancient sample. That would not seem to be very Reich and company like.

Actually, one would think the Bean project, at least, might have provided one by now, but they seem to want to milk their research and give their graduate students publishable material for the next twenty years!

I would just add that finding a "proxy" for the Yamnaya Indo-Europeans would be, in my opinion, as difficult as finding a proxy for the early Near Eastern farmers, as they no longer exist as a population. However, it seems to me that Gamba et al shows that the Bronze Age people in Central Europe are pretty far from "50% Armenian like/50% ancient Karelian like". A whole lot of mixing had gone on in those close to 1000 years.

When we're speaking of the "Indo-Europeans" I think we have to be careful to delineate the time period and also the area under discussion. We've been told that the people of the steppe changed over time. I would think there would be variations in terms of area as well within the huge Yamnaya horizon. We'll just have to wait and see.

If we're going to talk about the leaks from the papers, wasn't there something to the effect that the movement of ANE into western and northwestern Europe was different than could be explained by Corded Ware? Also, if ANE is so easy to delineate, why did Reich say they were having a hard time sorting it out in the EHG?

Oh, according to Anthony the steppe people borrowed cattle breeding from the farming cultures of Old Europe. He writes about it quite extensively. It was actually illuminating re-reading him. (I would think that there was some genetic exchange along that border in addition to whatever flowed from the Caucasus or Central Asia. )
 
Here's the problem. There is one main European and one main Asia subclade of R1a, with the dividing line being about where Yamnaya was, so the distribution of R1a is easy to understand in terms of IE. However, there are two main subclades of R1b in Europe and the largest one has five subdivision that tend to be concentrated in specific geographic areas. Unless we assume very young ages for all this diversity, it's difficult to make sense of the distribution except by assuming a very old age for R1b that so far isn't supported by old DNA samples, since the oldest R1b found in Europe to date is about 4800 years old. So it will be very interesting when we finally get some Yamnaya samples - I'm expecting R1a and J2 but am very curious as to whether R1b will be there. If there is any R1b there, I hope we get subclade information.

indeed, IMO R1b expansion into Europe postdated Corded Ware.
most R1a in Europe seems to be connected with even later Baltic and Slavic expansions.
however proto Balt and proto Slav may very well be corded ware, and both are connected with R1a. Is this a coincidence?
 
indeed, IMO R1b expansion into Europe postdated Corded Ware.
most R1a in Europe seems to be connected with even later Baltic and Slavic expansions.
however proto Balt and proto Slav may very well be corded ware, and both are connected with R1a. Is this a coincidence?

Personally, I'd like to see a genome from the Baltic close to but before the time when there is a record of Yamnaya moving into the area so that we can see their levels of WHG and ANE. I'd be willing to bet they had no "EEF". I've also been searching for archaeology papers that give an estimate for the population levels of both the "indigenous" people and the newcomers.
 
I think I'll just wait until the results are published. :)

I may be wrong, but I would suggest that the papers we are awaiting might not be very definitive (as definitive as Eurogenes, for example) in terms of an "early near eastern farmer" cluster unless they've gotten hold of an appropriate ancient sample. That would not seem to be very Reich and company like.

Actually, one would think the Bean project, at least, might have provided one by now, but they seem to want to milk their research and give their graduate students publishable material for the next twenty years!

I would just add that finding a "proxy" for the Yamnaya Indo-Europeans would be, in my opinion, as difficult as finding a proxy for the early Near Eastern farmers, as they no longer exist as a population. However, it seems to me that Gamba et al shows that the Bronze Age people in Central Europe are pretty far from "50% Armenian like/50% ancient Karelian like". A whole lot of mixing had gone on in those close to 1000 years.

When we're speaking of the "Indo-Europeans" I think we have to be careful to delineate the time period and also the area under discussion. We've been told that the people of the steppe changed over time. I would think there would be variations in terms of area as well within the huge Yamnaya horizon. We'll just have to wait and see.

If we're going to talk about the leaks from the papers, wasn't there something to the effect that the movement of ANE into western and northwestern Europe was different than could be explained by Corded Ware? Also, if ANE is so easy to delineate, why did Reich say they were having a hard time sorting it out in the EHG?

Oh, according to Anthony the steppe people borrowed cattle breeding from the farming cultures of Old Europe. He writes about it quite extensively. It was actually illuminating re-reading him. (I would think that there was some genetic exchange along that border in addition to whatever flowed from the Caucasus or Central Asia. )

Well said. I can hope for a data set on the steppe people of 4000 years ago that will illuminate these issues, but that doesn't mean we'll get something illuminating any time soon. I just think it's a shame that the professionals don't have the same agenda as a hobbyist like myself.
 
indeed, IMO R1b expansion into Europe postdated Corded Ware.
most R1a in Europe seems to be connected with even later Baltic and Slavic expansions.
however proto Balt and proto Slav may very well be corded ware, and both are connected with R1a. Is this a coincidence?

I don't think that R1a Corded Ware presents a problem, since I see them as being part of the "ancient Karelian-like" population - N1c seems to have arrived somewhat later. My point is that if we see R1b as an IE phenomenon, how do we explain the somewhat geographic specific diversity of subclades? I think we have to either see the diversity as very recent or see R1b as being in Europe for much longer than we have any evidence for. And I'm not personally a fan of either explanation.
 
Well said. I can hope for a data set on the steppe people of 4000 years ago that will illuminate these issues, but that doesn't mean we'll get something illuminating any time soon. I just think it's a shame that the professionals don't have the same agenda as a hobbyist like myself.

I was sort of kidding, although I think there is some proper concern for graduate students. :)

However, the most important factor, I think, is that for academicians there is going to be much more concern for accuracy and for not allowing any "bias" (in so far as they can help it) to enter into their analyses. Any hint of bias, or clue that the data is being "massaged" in any way, as in their choice of samples, for example, would mean death for their careers. I know we hobbyists also take our reputations seriously, of course, but it's not quite the same thing. :)

There's also the fact that, as I learned my first year "on the job", it doesn't do your professional reputation any good to get too far out ahead of the facts. (We still don't have all that many ancient samples, and for some areas and time periods we don't have any at all.) That's a mistake akin to charging a person based on circumstantial evidence when you don't yet have the forensics, or asking a question of a witness to which you don't already know the answer. Maybe not a career ender, but it certainly does you no good.
 
Here's the problem. There is one main European and one main Asia subclade of R1a, with the dividing line being about where Yamnaya was, so the distribution of R1a is easy to understand in terms of IE. However, there are two main subclades of R1b in Europe and the largest one has five subdivision that tend to be concentrated in specific geographic areas. Unless we assume very young ages for all this diversity, it's difficult to make sense of the distribution except by assuming a very old age for R1b that so far isn't supported by old DNA samples, since the oldest R1b found in Europe to date is about 4800 years old. So it will be very interesting when we finally get some Yamnaya samples - I'm expecting R1a and J2 but am very curious as to whether R1b will be there. If there is any R1b there, I hope we get subclade information.
It is too early to consider R1a as a haplogroup of Yamna culture, let's wait for ancient Y-dna
 
Well, at least they could share facts. Blah, blah - 7 sceletons from x years ago from this geographic location. 3 had R1a, 1 I2, 2 N with xyz subclades.
No harm to career and million info for us to discuss another couple of months :)
 

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