Coevolution of genes and languages and high levels of population structure among the highland populations of Daghestan

Tatiana Karafet, Kazima B. Bulayeva, Johanna Nichols, Oleg A. Bulayev, Farida Gurgenova, Jamilia Omarova, Levon Yepiskoposyan, Olga V. Savina, Barry H. Rodrigue, Michael F Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As a result of the combination of great linguistic and cultural diversity, the highland populations of Daghestan present an excellent opportunity to test the hypothesis of language-gene coevolution at a fine geographic scale. However, previous genetic studies generally have been restricted to uniparental markers and have not included many of the key populations of the region. To improve our understanding of the genetic structure of Daghestani populations and to investigate possible correlations between genetic and linguistic variation, we analyzed ∼550 000 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms, phylogenetically informative Y chromosome markers and mtDNA haplotypes in 21 ethnic Daghestani groups. We found high levels of population structure in Daghestan consistent with the hypothesis of long-term isolation among populations of the highland Caucasus. Highland Daghestani populations exhibit extremely high levels of between-population diversity for all genetic systems tested, leading to some of the highest F ST values observed for any region of the world. In addition, we find a significant positive correlation between gene and language diversity, suggesting that these two aspects of human diversity have coevolved as a result of historical patterns of social interaction among highland farmers at the community level. Finally, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that most Daghestanian-speaking groups descend from a common ancestral population (∼6000-6500 years ago) that spread to the Caucasus by demic diffusion followed by population fragmentation and low levels of gene flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Genetics
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

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Language
Population
Genes
Linguistics
Language Tests
Cultural Diversity
Gene Flow
Genetic Structures
Y Chromosome
Interpersonal Relations
Mitochondrial DNA
Genetic Markers
Ethnic Groups
Haplotypes
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics

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Coevolution of genes and languages and high levels of population structure among the highland populations of Daghestan. / Karafet, Tatiana; Bulayeva, Kazima B.; Nichols, Johanna; Bulayev, Oleg A.; Gurgenova, Farida; Omarova, Jamilia; Yepiskoposyan, Levon; Savina, Olga V.; Rodrigue, Barry H.; Hammer, Michael F.

In: Journal of Human Genetics, Vol. 61, No. 3, 01.03.2016, p. 181-191.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Karafet, T, Bulayeva, KB, Nichols, J, Bulayev, OA, Gurgenova, F, Omarova, J, Yepiskoposyan, L, Savina, OV, Rodrigue, BH & Hammer, MF 2016, 'Coevolution of genes and languages and high levels of population structure among the highland populations of Daghestan', Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 181-191. https://doi.org/10.1038/jhg.2015.132
Karafet, Tatiana ; Bulayeva, Kazima B. ; Nichols, Johanna ; Bulayev, Oleg A. ; Gurgenova, Farida ; Omarova, Jamilia ; Yepiskoposyan, Levon ; Savina, Olga V. ; Rodrigue, Barry H. ; Hammer, Michael F. / Coevolution of genes and languages and high levels of population structure among the highland populations of Daghestan. In: Journal of Human Genetics. 2016 ; Vol. 61, No. 3. pp. 181-191.
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