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German archaeogenetic: "No Russian genome does not exist"
Material posted: Publication date: 06-07-2020
What is the genetic history of settlement in Russia? A trail in the DNA of Europeans left the inhabitants of the Russian steppes? When the ancient inhabitants of Baikal became the Indians in America? An interview with DW.

Johannes Krause (Johannes Krause) - a leading German representative of the young science, which is called archaeogenetics or paleogenetic. She has been studying the history of humanity and of life on Earth based on the analysis of genetic material - DNA. In 2010 he became Professor of archeo - and paleogenetics at the University of tübingen in 2014 was the first Director created with his participation in the Jena, Institute of history of mankind of the max Planck (Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte), included in the network of research organizations of the max Planck Society (Max-Plank-Gesellschaft). From June 2020 39-year-old scientist heads the departments archaeogenetic as in Jena and Institute of evolutionary anthropology of max Planck in Leipzig. In Russian this year he published a book "the Journey of our genes. The story of us and our ancestors," written by Johannes Krause co-authored with journalist Thomas Trapp.

Deutsche Welle: the Scientists of the Department archaeogenetic of the Institute of history of mankind in Jena in may published a study on the relationship of the ancient inhabitants of lake Baikal and the American Indians carried out under your leadership. What exactly were you able to install?

Johannes Krause:Prehistoric America was settled from North-Eastern part of today's Russia through the Bering Strait and Alaska. It has been proved. Also thanks to the genome of the American Indians, which is a very specific combination of genes from East Asia, today's China, and the Northern part of Eurasia. This combination of 50:50 in most of Eurasia is no more, the population became extinct, but it is the Indians.

And it exists in DNA that we received from the tooth lived 15,000 years ago the individual was found during excavations in the area of lake Baikal. This proves that the ancestors of the Indians of North and South America lived much earlier and much more extensive territory of North-Eastern Russia, at least 3 thousand kilometers to the South than so far considered.

Still somehow strange to hear that a prehistoric man studied not only by archaeologists, paleontologists and anthropologists, but also genetics. What are the challenges now focuses young science archeogenetics?

Archaeogenetic Professor Johannes Krause

- This science focuses on a specific historical period: from 100 000 up to 1000-2000 years ago. To go too far in the past archaeogenetic: not preserved DNA samples. And the closer to the date, the more written evidence. But in the study of this period archaeogenetics has made a real revolution. We learned a lot about the origin and migration of various populations. And Russia is in these studies a Central place.


- First, because it is very much in the history of primitive man was in the vast territory of Russia, because she occupies half of Eurasia. Secondly, because in Russia due to cold climate is much more favourable conditions for the preservation of the bones with genetic material than, say, in India, southern China or the Arabian Peninsula.

Besides, in Russia since Soviet times - an excellent archaeological science, and we are here in Germany for a long time and work very closely with various specialists in Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Stavropol, and in fact throughout Russia. So we have so much knowledge about this region.

- What new knowledge about the life of primitive man on the territory of today's Russia managed to obtain with the help of genetic research?

We learned a lot, for example, about the migration of the ancient inhabitants of the southern Russian steppes, a very successful representatives of the Pit culture. About 5000 years ago, these mobile nomadic pastoralists with their technology - they had wheels and carts, it is known from excavations of burial mounds, begin to move to the East and the West. They reach the Altai, and there arises Afanasyevskaya culture, which is genetically almost identical to the Yamna culture.

Simultaneously with the genes of today's Russian territory spread throughout Europe and mixed with the genes of local residents, the movement for the past five years, has managed very well to study, because we have a lot of data - not less than two thousand samples of DNA from a variety of places.

- What came archaeogenetic?

In Europe the people were different, the share of these "steppe genes." In the Eastern part of the Baltic States, it is the highest in the Mediterranean - the lowest, on the island of Sardinia, for example, they did not exist. Was after all not a direct migration, as in our days, was stretching about 500 years, the process in which everywhere there were mixed populations.

For example, the group that about 4500 years ago, came to the British Isles, by way of "from Russia" managed to mingle with the population, first in Eastern Europe, and "Germany" and then "Holland". Thus we see that the Y-chromosome, the male genes stronger change than the female. It seems that those who came from the steppes men were particularly successful in comparison with the local men, they had provided the essential genetic changes.

- So what is it: from the territory of today's Russia and settled in America and Europe?

- Yes, but only to the movements of the steppe nomads to the West, roughly 7,500 years ago, the territory of today's Russia in three streams, through the Caucasus, Central Asia and China began to settle in the South farmers and herders, which are then mixed with the local hunters and gatherers. So, the DNA of representatives of the Maikop culture originated earlier Yamna culture, is half of the genes of those who migrated from the Northern part of today's Iran.

Their ancestors, in turn, came from the Near East, from today's Syria and Iraq, where was found the oldest traces of agriculture and animal husbandry. And in the Arab region modern man came from Africa, it was the starting point for the global expansion of Homo sapiens.

- It turns out that each of us, inhabitants of modern Eurasia, has "African" and "middle East" and "steppe" genes?

- I will say more: all of us still 2 percent from Neanderthals, although this is another extinct species of human.

- In Russia there is a growing interest in genetics, including at the state level, and much has been written about the Russian genome. As it can be described in terms of archaeogenetic?

No typical Russian genome does not exist. The people of Russia have almost all the genetic diversity found today outside of Africa. This is the same medley as in Europe. In the last 5000 years, Russia was one of the most dynamic regions of the planet from a genetic point of view. Passing on her vast territory of the steppe belt that connects Eastern Europe and Asia, was a kind of motorway on which is very often moved mobile groups, whether Scythians, Huns, Avars, Mongols. All this led to large-scale genetic exchange.

Significant genetic changes have occurred in the recent history of Russia. In the 20th century - the 30s, 40s, 50s years, and then, in the 60s and up to 90-years - on its territory there was a particularly strong mobility, to put it politically neutral. This is all very changed by the local population. So in today's Russia there is no clear genetic boundaries, they do not on the world map. All mixed up. No genetic differences between Russian residents from the other inhabitants of Eurasia is not fixed.


Tags: Russia

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