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Nature. 2018 May;557(7705):369-374. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0094-2. Epub 2018 May 9.

137 ancient human genomes from across the Eurasian steppes.

Author information

1
Center for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2
Eco-anthropologie et Ethnobiologie, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, Paris, France.
3
Department of Bio and Health Informatics, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.
4
Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
6
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.
7
Buketov Karaganda State University, Saryarka Archaeological Institute, Karaganda, Kazakhstan.
8
Shejire DNA, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
9
Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
10
Carlsberg Research Laboratory, Copenhagen, Denmark.
11
Department of Theory and Methods, Institute of Archaeology Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
12
Department of History, Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
13
National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
14
Department of History, Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russia.
15
A. Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
16
Laboratory of Virology, Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Mongolian University of Life Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
17
Department of Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
18
Departament of Biology and Ecology, Tuvan State University, Kyzyl, Russia.
19
The Explico Foundation, Floro, Norway.
20
Department of Archaeology, Ulaanbaatar State University, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
21
Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan.
22
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
23
Unit for Environmental Archaeology and Materials Science, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark.
24
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia.
25
Archaeological Expertise LLC, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
26
Center for Applied Genomics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
27
Republican Scientific Center of Immunology, Ministry of Public Health, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
28
Department of Bioengineering, Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, Russian-Armenian University, Yerevan, Armenia.
29
Complex Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Grozny, Russia.
30
Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia.
31
Kostanay Regional Local History Museum, Kostanay, Kazakhstan.
32
Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, Schleswig, Germany.
33
Laboratory of Ethnogenomics, Institute of Molecular Biology, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia.
34
Saxo-Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
35
Center for Archaeological Research, S. Toraighyrov Pavlodar State University, Pavlodar, Kazakhstan.
36
The State Historical and Cultural Reserve-Museum (ISSYK), Almaty, Kazakhstan.
37
Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia.
38
University of Arizona, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, AZ, USA.
39
Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Nitra, Slovakia.
40
Institute for History of Medicine and Foreign Languages, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
41
Archaeological Laboratory, Kostanay State University, Kostanay, Kazakhstan.
42
Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
43
School of Life Sciences, Center for Evolution and Medicine, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.
44
Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of National Academy of Sciences, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
45
Institute of Problems Development of the North Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Tyumen, Russia.
46
Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
47
Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Ude, Russia.
48
Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist, and Tibetan Studies, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Ude, Russia.
49
Laboratoire d'Anthropobiologie Moléculaire et d'Imagerie de Synthèse, Université de Toulouse, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.
50
Departments of Integrative Biology and Statistics, University of Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.
51
Center for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. ewillerslev@snm.ku.dk.
52
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. ewillerslev@snm.ku.dk.
53
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK. ewillerslev@snm.ku.dk.

Abstract

For thousands of years the Eurasian steppes have been a centre of human migrations and cultural change. Here we sequence the genomes of 137 ancient humans (about 1× average coverage), covering a period of 4,000 years, to understand the population history of the Eurasian steppes after the Bronze Age migrations. We find that the genetics of the Scythian groups that dominated the Eurasian steppes throughout the Iron Age were highly structured, with diverse origins comprising Late Bronze Age herders, European farmers and southern Siberian hunter-gatherers. Later, Scythians admixed with the eastern steppe nomads who formed the Xiongnu confederations, and moved westward in about the second or third century BC, forming the Hun traditions in the fourth-fifth century AD, and carrying with them plague that was basal to the Justinian plague. These nomads were further admixed with East Asian groups during several short-term khanates in the Medieval period. These historical events transformed the Eurasian steppes from being inhabited by Indo-European speakers of largely West Eurasian ancestry to the mostly Turkic-speaking groups of the present day, who are primarily of East Asian ancestry.

PMID:
29743675
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-018-0094-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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