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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zoroastrian preprint (Lopez et al. 2017)


A new prerpint on the genetic legacy of the Zoroastrians has just appeared at bioRxiv. I'm reading it now. Might make some comments later [Update 20/04/2017: Zarathushtra and his steppe posse]. Here's the abstract:

Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest extant religions in the world, originating in Persia (present-day Iran) during the second millennium BCE. Historical records indicate that migrants from Persia brought Zoroastrianism to India, but there is debate over the timing of these migrations. Here we present novel genome-wide autosomal, Y-chromosome and mitochondrial data from Iranian and Indian Zoroastrians and neighbouring modern-day Indian and Iranian populations to conduct the first genome-wide genetic analysis in these groups. Using powerful haplotype-based techniques, we show that Zoroastrians in Iran and India show increased genetic homogeneity relative to other sampled groups in their respective countries, consistent with their current practices of endogamy. Despite this, we show that Indian Zoroastrians (Parsis) intermixed with local groups sometime after their arrival in India, dating this mixture to 690-1390 CE and providing strong evidence that the migrating group was largely comprised of Zoroastrian males. By exploiting the rich information in DNA from ancient human remains, we also highlight admixture in the ancestors of Iranian Zoroastrians dated to 570 BCE-746 CE, older than admixture seen in any other sampled Iranian group, consistent with a long-standing isolation of Zoroastrians from outside groups. Finally, we report genomic regions showing signatures of positive selection in present-day Zoroastrians that might correlate to the prevalence of particular diseases amongst these communities.

Lopez et al., The genetic legacy of Zoroastrianism in Iran and India: Insights into population structure, gene flow and selection, bioRxiv, Posted April 18, 2017, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/128272

14 comments:

P Piranha said...

Bet you're going to post about the FINESTRUCTURE and CHROMOPAINTER results.

Chromopainter and finestructure assign GujaratiA and B plus Tiwari, all Brahmins and high castes, to an India_B cluster, which, whether geographically close donors are included or excluded, have about a fifth to a quarter contribution from Europe.

John Smith said...

The high frequencies of H2 is incorrect it is clearly a technical error related to poor resolution with the CRS.

Nirjhar007 said...

Thank you Dave.

John Smith said...

The high frequencies of a specific subclade of H2 (H2a2a1 mtdna to be exact) in the paper is incorrect it is clearly a technical error related to poor resolution with the CRS.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go...

the CRS coincidentally belongs to H2a2a1

Please advise the authors to please correct this error if possible and if possible please ask them to please show the correct frequencies. This is one of the biggest errors I have seen in any paper in a long time.

John Smith said...

Email for the author is lopezs@usc.edu

I am not certain if it against the rules to give emails for the authors but this is a disturbing mistake that needs to be resolved.

Nirjhar007 said...

have about a fifth to a quarter contribution from Europe.

Ancient dna will rule out that illusion.

Saioa Lopez said...

We agree that table looks strange to us, and is likely some sort of typographical error. Thank you very much for pointing this out, so that we can correct this early version of the paper.

Nirjhar007 said...

Errors in pre-prints are very normal thing . One of the reasons of releasing pre-prints is to minimize errors before final publication .

Anthro Survey said...

Zoroastrians are the Copts of Iran in that sense, I guess. The question is whether they have signifixantly higher or lower steppe ancestry than other peoples in the Iranosphere.

MaxT said...

@Anthro Survey

On Yamnaya K6, Iranians on average have 14%-20% Yamnaya-related steppe admixture. I don't expect Zoroastrians to be any different.

MaxT said...

@Anthro Survey

Also among Iranics, steppe-ancestry is highest among Tajiks about 34%-49%.

Anthro Survey said...

@Max: Do you know by chance where those Iranians hail from? East, West, rural/tribal or urban?

Also---I think those "Tajiks" are most likely Pamiris, so not Tajiks in the true sense of the word since they 1)don't speak Farsi as primary language and 2)reside in remote mountain villages and have little to do with the urban culture of Central Asia. They are "Tajiks" in that they come from the polity of Tajikistan. But yeah, apparently they score pretty high on steppe.

I reckon that real Tajiks from cities like Bukhara and Herat likely score substantially higher on east asian(ENA+ASI) and somewhat lower steppe as % of non-ENA/ASI.

Pamiris are probably analogous to the Samnites of South Italy who I reckon would have had a higher % of Kurgan genes than lowlanders there. And Pamiri climate, just as high Appenine climate, is more comparable to northern, more steppic-like climates.

John Smith said...

Zoroastrians have more J than their Neighbors and are some of the only Indians with J1. If you look at their monotheism I think they may be the descendants of the Israelite's in Iran from the time of Esther it makes sense. Some Estimate Zoroastrianism started at 500 bc which would fit this. Of course they lack E1b1b in India which seems to be evidence against this.

For the king said...

It's the other way around, Zoroastrianism and Indo-Iranian religions(IE religions too) influenced Judaism+early Semitic religions. Parsis barely have J1c/J1e, their J1 mostly non-Semitic related(And if it was Semitic related, it's probably related to Assyrians and Akkadians). The number of Levantine Jews in Persia was relatively low(not enough to influence the Zoroastrian majority).