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Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Uralic cline with kra001 - no projection this time


A whole lot of nonsense was posted online, often by people who should've known better, after I claimed that kra001 was a solid proxy for a proto-Uralic genome (see here).

For those of you who still don't get it, below are three Principal Component Analysis (PCA) plots featuring Uralic speakers and other present-day Eurasians. Kra001 is also there. These graphs are based on genotype data not reprocessed Global25 data. The relevant datasheet is available here.

Compared to my previous PCA with kra001, here I included a bigger range of East Eurasian populations to help mitigate the effects of extreme genetic drift in some of the Siberian groups, at least on the first few Principal Components (PCs). Moreover, kra001 wasn't projected onto PCs computed with modern-day samples, so he was free to influence the outcome of the PCA.


Note the east to west clines made up largely of Uralic speaking groups on the first two plots. These plots are based on PCs 1/2 and 1 /3, respectively. The third plot, based on PCs 1/4, is more complex and thus more difficult to interpret, but it also manages to isolate many of the Uralic populations from the others.

The Uralic-specific clines do intersect with the clines and clusters formed by the other linguistic groups. However, based on the three plots, the Yeniseian-speaking Kets are the only Asian group that can plausibly be confused for Uralic speakers.

Importantly, apart from the Kets, kra001 is the only Asian individual who shifts his position on all three plots as if he were a Uralic speaker. This might well be a coincidence, and we'll never know what language was spoken by kra001, but it does suggest to me that his genome is a solid proxy for a proto-Uralic genome.

See also...

First taste of Early Medieval DNA from the Ural region

The BOO people: earliest Uralic speakers in the ancient DNA record?

Fresh off the sledge

Friday, February 5, 2021

Finally, a proto-Uralic genome


Obviously, genes don't speak languages, people do. But sometimes it's possible to associate a linguistic group with a very specific genetic signature.

A while ago many of us in the blogosphere spotted an uncanny connection between the Uralic language family, Y-haplogroup N-L1026 and Nganasan-like genome-wide genetic ancestry.

As a result, we expected a Nganasan-like population rich in N-L1026 to eventually appear in the ancient DNA record, probably somewhere in Siberia and in burials from a likely proto-Uralic archeological culture. This hasn't happened yet, but we now have direct evidence that such a population must have existed somewhere deep in Siberia as early as the Bronze Age.

Kra001, whose genome was published recently along with Kilinc et al., belongs to N-L1026 and, at least in terms of genome-wide genetic structure, could well be from a population directly ancestral to present-day Nganasans. Of course, the Nganasan language is part of the Samoyedic branch of Uralic.

Below is a series of Principal Component Analyses (PCA) featuring kra001. He's labeled RUS_Krasnoyarsk_BA, after the location and age of his burial. Note the obvious Uralic cline running across the plots. That is, from west to east. Kra001 is positioned at the end of this cline very close to a small cluster of Nganasans. To see interactive versions of the plots, paste the Global25 coordinates here into the relevant field here.

Admittedly, there's no way of knowing whether this individual spoke proto-Uralic or not. Indeed, he may have spoken something totally unrelated. The important point is that the very specific genetic signature shared by almost all present-day Uralic speakers, except perhaps Hungarians, is now finally represented in the ancient DNA record. And I can reveal to you that we'll soon be seeing many more ancients very similar to kra001 in upcoming papers.

See also...

The Uralic cline with kra001 - no projection this time

The BOO people: earliest Uralic speakers in the ancient DNA record?

Fresh off the sledge