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Keywords:

  • mtDNA;
  • haplogroup;
  • haplotype Central Asia;
  • Mongolia

Abstract

The Altaian Kazakhs, a Turkic speaking group, now reside in the southern part of the Altai Republic in south-central Russia. According to historical accounts, they are one of several ethnic and geographical subdivisions of the Kazakh nomadic group that migrated from China and Western Mongolia into the Altai region during the 19th Century. However, their population history of the Altaian Kazakhs and the genetic relationships with other Kazakh groups and neighboring Turkic-speaking populations is not well understood. To begin elucidating their genetic history, we analyzed the mtDNAs from 237 Altaian Kazakhs through a combination of SNP analysis and HVS1 sequencing. This analysis revealed that their mtDNA gene pool was comprised of roughly equal proportions of East (A-G, M7, M13, Y and Z) and West (H, HV, pre-HV, R, IK, JT, X, U) Eurasian haplogroups, with the haplotypic diversity within haplogroups C, D, H, and U being particularly high. This pattern of diversity likely reflects the complex interactions of the Kazakhs with other Turkic groups, Mongolians, and indigenous Altaians. Overall, these data have important implications for Kazakh population history, the genetic prehistory of the Altai-Sayan region, and the phylogeography of major mitochondrial lineages in Eurasia. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.