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Keywords:

  • Kalmyks;
  • Y chromosome;
  • mtDNA

Abstract

The Kalmyks are an ethnic group along the lower Volga River in Russia who are thought to have migrated there from Mongolia about 300 years ago. To investigate their origins, we studied mtDNA and Y-chromosome variation in 99 Kalmyks. Both mtDNA HV1 sequences and Y-chromosome SNP haplogroups indicate a close relationship of Kalmyks with Mongolians. In addition, genetic diversity for both mtDNA and the Y chromosome are comparable in Kalmyks, Mongolians, and other Central Asian groups, indicating that the Kalmyk migration was not associated with a substantial bottleneck. The so-called “Genghis Khan” Y-chromosome short tandem repeat (STR) haplotype was found in high frequency (31.3%) among Kalmyks, further supporting a strong genetic connection between Kalmyks and Mongolians. Genetic analyses of even recent, relatively well-documented migrations such as of the Kalmyks can therefore lead to new insights concerning such migrations. Am J Phys Anthropol 126:, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.