Saturday, March 15, 2014
PCA of ancient European mtDNA
The recent Wilde et al. paper on the ancient DNA of Eastern European steppe herders included mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data for just over 60 of the studied individuals. Below is a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) featuring these samples, marked collectively as KGU, alongside the dataset from last year's Brandt et al. study on the genetic origins of Central Europeans.
Note that KGU falls closest to the Bernburg (BEC) and Unetice (UC) samples from Neolithic and Bronze Age eastern Germany, respectively. This is probably because all of these groups have similar levels of mtDNA haplogroups U5a and H. Moreover, UC is thought to be an Indo-European archaeological culture with origins in Eastern Europe. On the other hand, Brandt et al. hypothesized that BEC might have been of Scandinavian origin.
The Central European metapopulation (CEM) is composed of present-day individuals from Austria, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Its position on the PCA plot suggests to me that modern Central Europeans are largely derived of Kurgan nomads, Bell Beakers from Iberia (BBC), and remnants of Neolithic farmers from the Near East, at least in terms of maternal ancestry.
In other words, I'd say the result correlates well with the findings of Brandt et al., who posited that long-range migrations from eastern and western Europe into the heart of the continent, particularly during the late Neolithic, played an important role in the formation of the modern Central European mtDNA gene pool.
Citations and credits...
Thanks to Eurogenes Project member PL16 for the PCA
Wilde et al., Direct evidence for positive selection of skin, hair, and eye pigmentation in Europeans during the last 5,000 y, PNAS, Published online before print on March 10, 2014, DO:I10.1073/pnas.1316513111
Guido Brandt, Wolfgang Haak et al., Ancient DNA Reveals Key Stages in the Formation of Central European Mitochondrial Genetic Diversity, Science 11 October 2013: Vol. 342 no. 6155 pp. 257-261 DOI: 10.1126/science.1241844
Extreme positive selection for light skin, hair and eyes on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...or not