Genetic heritage of the balto-slavic speaking populations: A synthesis of autosomal, mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal data

Alena Kushniarevich, Olga Utevska, Marina Chuhryaeva, Anastasia Agdzhoyan, Khadizhat Dibirova, Ingrida Uktveryte, Märt Möls, Lejla Mulahasanovic, Andrey Pshenichnov, Svetlana Frolova, Andrey Shanko, Ene Metspalu, Maere Reidla, Kristiina Tambets, Erika Tamm, Sergey Koshel, Valery Zaporozhchenko, Lubov Atramentova, Vaidutis Kučinskas, Oleg DavydenkoOlga Goncharova, Irina Evseeva, Michail Churnosov, Elvira Pocheshchova, Bayazit Yunusbayev, Elza Khusnutdinova, Damir Marjanović, Pavao Rudan, Siiri Rootsi, Nick Yankovsky, Phillip Endicott, Alexei Kassian, Anna Dybo, Chris Tyler-Smith, Elena Balanovska, Mait Metspalu, Toomas Kivisild, Richard Villems, Oleg Balanovsky, Li Jin, Hui Li, Shilin Li, Pandikumar Swamikrishnan, Asif Javed, Laxmi Parida, Ajay K. Royyuru, R. John Mitchell, Pierre A. Zalloua, Syama Adhikarla, Arun Kumar, Ganesh Prasad, Ramasamy Pitchappan, Arun Varatharajan Santhakumari, R. Spencer Wells, Miguel G. Vilar, Himla Soodyall, Daniela R. Lacerda, Fabrício R. Santos, Jaume Bertranpetit, Marc Haber, Marta Melé, Christina J. Adler, Alan Cooper, Clio S.I. Der Sarkissian, Wolfgang Haak, Matthew E. Kaplan, Nirav C. Merchant, Colin Renfrew, Andrew C. Clarke, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith, Jill B. Gaieski, Amanda C. Owings, Theodore G. Schurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Slavic branch of the Balto-Slavic sub-family of Indo-European languages underwent rapid divergence as a result of the spatial expansion of its speakers from Central-East Europe, in early medieval times. This expansion-mainly to East Europe and the northern Balkans-resulted in the incorporation of genetic components from numerous autochthonous populations into the Slavic gene pools. Here, we characterize genetic variation in all extant ethnic groups speaking Balto-Slavic languages by analyzing mitochondrial DNA (n = 6,876), Y-chromosomes (n = 6,079) and genome-wide SNP profiles (n = 296), within the context of other European populations. We also reassess the phylogeny of Slavic languages within the Balto-Slavic branch of Indo-European. We find that genetic distances among Balto-Slavic populations, based on autosomal and Y-chromosomal loci, show a high correlation (0.9) both with each other and with geography, but a slightly lower correlation (0.7) with mitochondrial DNA and linguistic affiliation. The data suggest that genetic diversity of the present-day Slavs was predominantly shaped in situ, and we detect two different substrata: 'central-east European' for West and East Slavs, and 'south-east European' for South Slavs. A pattern of distribution of segments identical by descent between groups of East-West and South Slavs suggests shared ancestry or a modest gene flow between those two groups, which might derive from the historic spread of Slavic people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0135820
JournalPloS one
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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