The most interesting thing about this haplotype co-occurrence analysis of Ukrainian mtDNA is that it fails to show any strong links between Eastern Europe and West Asia. But this is in line with Y-DNA and genome-wide genetic data which suggest that the Black Sea and Caucasus mountains have acted as very effective barriers to gene flow between these regions (for instance, see here). Indeed, in this study Ukrainians show a much stronger relationship to Northwestern Europeans than to populations from just north of the Caucasus. The main Ukrainian haplotype co-occurrence clusters are listed in Table S4, which is freely available here.
The area of what is now the Ukraine has been the arena of large-scale demographic processes that may have left their traces in the contemporary gene pool of Ukrainians. In this study, we present new mitochondrial DNA data for 607 Ukrainians (hypervariable segment I sequences and coding region polymorphisms). To study the maternal affinities of Ukrainians at the level of separate mitochondrial haplotypes, we apply an original technique, the haplotype co-occurrence analysis. About 20% of the Ukrainian maternal gene pool is represented by lineages highly specific to Ukrainians, but is scarcely found in other populations. About 9% of Ukrainian mtDNA lineages are typical for peoples of the Volga region. We also identified minor gene pool strata (1.6–3.3%), each of which is common in Lithuanians, Estonians, Saami, Nenets, Cornish, and the populations of the North Caucasus.
Pshenichnov, A., Balanovsky, O., Utevska, O., Metspalu, E., Zaporozhchenko, V., Agdzhoyan, A., Churnosov, M., Atramentova, L. and Balanovska, E. (2013), Genetic affinities of Ukrainians from the maternal perspective. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol.. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22371