Molecular Genetic Analysis of 400-Year-Old Human Remains Found in Two Yakut Burial Sites

Authors

  • François-Xavier Ricaut,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire, Institut de Médecine Légale, 67085 Strasbourg, France
    2. Département d'Anthropobiologie, Université Paul Sabatier, CNRS, UMR 8555, 3100 Toulouse, France
    • Department of Biological Anthropology, Leverhulme Centre of Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, Downing St., Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK
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  • Sergei Kolodesnikov,

    1. Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yakutsk State University, Yakutsk 677891, Russia
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  • Christine Keyser-Tracqui,

    1. Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire, Institut de Médecine Légale, 67085 Strasbourg, France
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  • Anatoly Nikoyevich Alekseev,

    1. Department of Archaeology, Yakutsk State University, Yakutsk 677891, Russia
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  • Eric Crubézy,

    1. Département d'Anthropobiologie, Université Paul Sabatier, CNRS, UMR 8555, 3100 Toulouse, France
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  • Bertrand Ludes

    1. Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Moléculaire, Institut de Médecine Légale, 67085 Strasbourg, France
    2. Département d'Anthropobiologie, Université Paul Sabatier, CNRS, UMR 8555, 3100 Toulouse, France
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Abstract

The excavation of five frozen graves at the Sytygane Syhe and Istekh-Myrane burial sites (dated at 400 years old) in central Yakutia revealed five human skeletons belonging to the Yakut population. To investigate the origin and evolution of the Yakut population as well as the kinship system between individuals buried in these two sites, DNA was extracted from bone samples and analyzed by autosomal short tandem repeats (STRs) and by sequencing hypervariable region I (HV1) of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region. The results showed a diversity of sepulchral organizations linked probably to the social or genetic background of the subjects. Comparison of STR profiles, mitochondrial haplotypes, and haplogroups with data from Eurasian populations indicated affinities with Asian populations and suggested a relative specificity and continuity of part of the Yakut mitochondrial gene pool during the last five centuries. Moreover, our results did not support a Central Asian (with the exception of maternal lineage of West Eurasian origin) or Siberian origin of the maternal lineages of these ancient Yakut subjects, implying an ethnogenesis of the Yakut population probably more complex than previously proposed. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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