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PLoS One. 2018 Oct 18;13(10):e0205920. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205920. eCollection 2018.

Mitogenomic data indicate admixture components of Central-Inner Asian and Srubnaya origin in the conquering Hungarians.

Author information

Department of Genetics, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Health Center, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
SeqOmics Biotechnology Ltd., Mórahalom, Hungary.
Institute of Biochemistry, Biological Research Centre, Szeged, Hungary.
Department of Anthropology, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, Hungary.
Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Institute of Genetics, Biological Research Centre, Szeged, Hungary.
Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, EURAC, Bolzano, Italy.


It has been widely accepted that the Finno-Ugric Hungarian language, originated from proto Uralic people, was brought into the Carpathian Basin by the conquering Hungarians. From the middle of the 19th century this view prevailed against the deep-rooted Hungarian Hun tradition, maintained in folk memory as well as in Hungarian and foreign written medieval sources, which claimed that Hungarians were kinsfolk of the Huns. In order to shed light on the genetic origin of the Conquerors we sequenced 102 mitogenomes from early Conqueror cemeteries and compared them to sequences of all available databases. We applied novel population genetic algorithms, named Shared Haplogroup Distance and MITOMIX, to reveal past admixture of maternal lineages. Our results show that the Conquerors assembled from various nomadic groups of the Eurasian steppe. Population genetic results indicate that they had closest connection to the Onogur-Bulgar ancestors of Volga Tatars. Phylogenetic results reveal that more than one third of the Conqueror maternal lineages were derived from Central-Inner Asia and their most probable ultimate sources were the Asian Scythians and Asian Huns, giving support to the Hungarian Hun tradition. The rest of the lineages most likely originated from the Bronze Age Potapovka-Poltavka-Srubnaya cultures of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Available data imply that the Conquerors did not have a major contribution to the gene pool of the Carpathian Basin.

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Conflict of interest statement

Dr. Bihari and Dr. Nagy had consulting positions at SeqOmics Biotechnology Ltd. at the time the study was conceived. SeqOmics Biotechnology Ltd. was not directly involved in the design and execution of the experiments or in the writing of the manuscript. This affiliation does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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