On 26 August at 10:15 Helen Post will defend her doctoral thesis gene technology “Overview of the phylogeny and phylogeography of the Y-chromosomal haplogroup N in northern Eurasia and case studies of two linguistically exceptional populations of Europe – Hungarians and Kalmyks“
Supervisors: Senior Research Fellow Siiri Rootsi, Institute of Genomics, Professor and Leading Scientist Richard Villems, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and Institute of Genomics
Oponent: Professor Maarten Larmuseaud, Leuven University (Belgium)
Human evolution and demographic history have left a mark into our genome, passed on through generations. Genetic information has been applied to compare peoples for nearly a century. Yet the technological advances of the past decade have opened a path to whole human genomic variation.
Current thesis studies the genetic variation of the paternally inherited Y chromosome. Whole Y chromosome sequences are used in the construction of phylogenetic trees and estimation of lineage split times.
The thesis focuses on a Y chromosome lineage haplogroup (hg) N that is prevalent in North Eurasian men. A high-resolution phylogenetic tree reveals new sub-lineages; their spread patterns and frequencies are assessed in various North Eurasian populations. Also, the occurrence of hg N is examined in Uralic speaking Hungarians of Central Europe and geographically distant peoples, including linguistic relatives, living around the Ural Mountains. Hungarians are genetically similar to their geographic neighbours. Genetic affinity with other Uralic speakers has been deemed elusive. Here we report that such a link, albeit limited, manifests in Y-chromosomal hg N3a4 bringing Hungarians together with Ob-Ugric Khanty and Mansi and several other Ural Mountain/West Siberian populations. Its sister clade, rich among Baltic-Finnic peoples, split from the former ~4-5 millennia ago.
The study also analyses paternal lineages of Oirat-Mongolic-speaking Kalmyks, whose ancestors ~400 years ago migrated from West Mongolia to East European Plain. Male lineages of Kalmyks and their linguistic relatives living in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and China are compared. A common hg in these populations is C3. Its phylogenetic tree and frequencies of other hgs show genetic similarity among studied populations despite the separation. Meanwhile, hg N3a, scarce in Kalmyks and frequent in some Mongol tribes, depicts an occasional extensive overlap of Y chromosomes between Uralic- and Mongolic speakers, dating to mid-Holocene.