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Ancient Fennoscandian genomes reveal origin and spread of Siberian ancestry in Europe

By Thiseas Christos Lamnidis, Kerttu Majander, Choongwon Jeong, Elina Salmela, Anna Wessman, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Valery Khartanovich, Oleg Balanovsky, Matthias Ongyerth, Antje Weihmann, Antti Sajantila, Janet Kelso, Svante Pääbo, Päivi Onkamo, Wolfgang Haak, Johannes Krause, Stephan Schiffels

Posted 22 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/285437 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07483-5)

European history has been shaped by migrations of people, and their subsequent admixture. Recently, evidence from ancient DNA has brought new insights into migration events that could be linked to the advent of agriculture, and possibly to the spread of Indo-European languages. However, little is known so far about the ancient population history of north-eastern Europe, in particular about populations speaking Uralic languages, such as Finns and Saami. Here we analyse ancient genomic data from 11 individuals from Finland and Northwest Russia. We show that the specific genetic makeup of northern Europe traces back to migrations from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago. This ancestry was subsequently admixed into many modern populations in the region, in particular populations speaking Uralic languages today. In addition, we show that ancestors of modern Saami inhabited a larger territory during the Iron Age than today, which adds to historical and linguistic evidence for the population history of Finland.

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