Yakut Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries

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Family Tree DNA: Genetic Testing Service
Genetic testing will reveal your relationships to other families, other populations from Russia, and other ethnic groups. If you're a Yakut and you test your Y-DNA and/or mtDNA, you will become eligible to join Family Tree DNA's Siberia and Transbaikalia DNA Geographical Project administered by Dmitry Adamov and Vladimir Volkov.

The Yakut people are also called the Sakha. They currently live in Yakutia in northeastern Russia.

The overwhelmingly majority of Yakut ancestry is of East Eurasian Mongoloid origin. For example, the East Eurasian mtDNA haplogroup A12a is found among Vilyuy Yakuts (Yakuts from the Vilyuy River region) as well as Nenets, Mansi, Selkups, and Kyrgyz.

Approximately 8% of Yakut ancestry is of West Eurasian Caucasoid origin. An example is the mtDNA haplogroup T2g1a which is represented by the Yakut samples EU007862 and KJ445846 in GenBank.

The Yakut language is a member of the Siberian subgroup of the Turkic language family.

Major studies of Yakuts

Bayazit Yunusbayev, Mait Metspalu, Ene Metspalu, Albert Valeev, Sergei Litvinov, Ruslan Valiev, Vita Akhmetova, Elena Balanovska, Oleg Balanovsky, and Shahlo Turdikulova. "The Genetic Legacy of the Expansion of Turkic-Speaking Nomads across Eurasia." PLoS Genetics 11:4 (April 21, 2015): e1005068. Excerpts from the Discussion section:

"For example, Yakuts, Evenkis, and Dolgans largely stem from the Lake Baikal region, which is essentially the SSM [South Siberia and Mongolia] area."

Sardana A. Fedorova, Maere Reidla, Ene Metspalu, Mait Metspalu, Siiri Rootsi, Kristiina Tambets, Natalya Trofimova, Sergey I. Zhadanov, Baharak Hooshiar Kashani, Anna Olivieri, Mikhail I. Voevoda, Ludmila P. Osipova, Fedor A. Platonov, Mikhail I. Tomsky, Elza K. Khusnutdinova, Antonio Torroni, and Richard Villems. "Autosomal and uniparental portraits of the native populations of Sakha (Yakutia): implications for the peopling of Northeast Eurasia." BMC Evolutionary Biology 13 (June 19, 2013): article number 127.
      These scientists tested the autosomal DNA and mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups of Yakut people along with non-Yakuts from Yakutia. The Yakuts are divided into Central Yakuts, Vilyuy Yakuts, and Northern Yakuts.
      Some of the Yakuts' East Eurasian mtDNA haplogroups include C4a1c, C4a2, C5b1b, and D5a2a2 and the authors believe that they came from early Yakut migrants into Yakutia. About 11.11% of Yakuts have C4a1c, 8.27% have C4a2, and 4.49% have C5b1b. D5a2a2 peaks in frequency among Central Yakuts and Vilyuy Yakuts and it was also found in many Yakuts who lived in the 15th through 19th centuries. D5a2a2 is found in about 13.48% of modern Yakuts as a whole. C4b1 is found in 7.80% of Yakuts. Central Yakuts occasionally have the Siberian mtDNA haplogroup C7a1c. Northern Yakuts occasionally have a variety of the mtDNA haplogroup Z3 that's defined by the mutation G5460A and it's shared with Evenk and Chinese people. Z3 is another lineage that the authors believe was brought into Yakutia by the early Yakuts. The mtDNA haplogroup G2a is found in about 4.49% of Yakuts while 3.55% of Yakuts carry M13a1b, 3.07% carry F1b, 1.42% carry F2b1, 1.89% carry A, 1.18% carry Y1a, 1.18% carry B, and 0.71% carry M7. East Eurasian mtDNA lineages, including these, comprise the vast majority of all mtDNA lineages among the Yakuts, but some others are of West Eurasian origin, including about 3.55% in haplogroup H, 1.42% in haplogroup W, 1.42% in haplogroup J1c5, 1.18% in haplogroup T2, 1.18% in haplogroup HV1a1a, 0.47% in haplogroup U5b1b1a, 0.47% in haplogroup R1b2a, and 0.24% in haplogroup U4d2.
      Yakuts often carry the Y-DNA haplogroup N1c within a "Yakut-specific STR-defined branch" and the authors believe it came from early Yakut migrants into Yakutia. Som Yakuts also have the Y-DNA haplogroup N1b, which is commonplace in Siberia and shared for example with Evenks. 13% of Northern Yakut men carry the Y-DNA haplogroup C3. The study notes that Evenks are "very similar to Yakuts".

Excerpts from the section "Origin of the West Eurasian genetic component in the gene pool of the native populations of Sakha":

"In addition, the presence of European-specific paternal lineages R1a-M458, I1 and I2a among Yakuts, Dolgans, Evenks and Yukaghirs likely points to a recent gene flow from East Europeans. [...] The mtDNA haplogroup J detected in the remains from a Yakut burial site dated to the beginning of the 17th century, long before the beginning of the settlement of Russian families in the 18th century, clearly points to more ancient gene flow from western Eurasia. The presence of haplogroups H8, H20 and HV1a1a among the Yakuts, Dolgans and Evenks also suggests gene flow other than from Russians, because these haplogroups are rare (H8 and H20) or even absent (HV1a1a) among Russians, but are common among southern Siberian populations as well as in the Caucasus, the Middle and Near East."

Brigitte Pakendorf, Victor Wiebe, Larissa A. Tarskaia, Victor A. Spitsyn, Himla Soodyall, Alexander Rodewald, and Mark Stoneking "Mitochondrial DNA evidence for admixed origins of central Siberian populations." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 120:3 (March 2003): pages 211-224. Abstract:

"The Yakuts of northeastern Siberia are a Turkic-speaking population of horse- and cattle-breeders surrounded by Tungusic-speaking reindeer-herders and hunter-gatherers. Archaeological and ethnohistorical data suggest that Yakuts stem from a common ancestral population with the Buryats living near Lake Baikal. To address this hypothesis, we obtained sequences of the first hypervariable segment (HV1) of the mitochondrial DNA control region from Yakuts and Buryats and compared these with sequences from other Eurasian populations. The mtDNA results show that the Buryats have close affinities with both Central Asian Turkic groups and Mongols, while the Yakuts have close affinities with northeastern Siberian, Tungusic-speaking Evenks and south Siberian, Turkic-speaking Tuvans. This different ancestry of the Yakuts and the Tuvans (compared with other Turkic-speaking groups) most likely reflects extensive admixture that occurred between Turkic-speaking steppe groups and Evenks as the former migrated into Siberia. Moreover, the Yakuts are unique among Siberian populations in having a high number of haplotypes shared exclusively with Europeans, suggesting, contrary to the historical record, that occasionally Yakut men took Russian women as wives."

Ana T. Duggan, Mark Whitten, Victor Wiebe, Michael Crawford, Anne Butthof, Victor Spitsyn, Sergey Makarov, Innokentiy Novgorodov, Vladimir Osakovsky, and Brigitte Pakendorf. "Investigating the Prehistory of Tungusic Peoples of Siberia and the Amur-Ussuri Region with Complete mtDNA Genome Sequences and Y-chromosomal Markers." PLos ONE 8:12 (December 12, 2013): e83570.

Excerpts from the section "MtDNA haplotype sharing analyses and networks":

"An analysis of shared haplotypes demonstrates that most of the sharing involves the different Yakut subgroups: 35 of the 54 haplotypes that are shared across different (sub)populations involve Yakuts, and 14 are shared only among different Yakut subgroups. Five haplotypes are shared only between Evenks and Yakuts, and five others are shared only between Evens and Yakuts. All five of the haplotypes shared solely between Evens and Yakuts are found in the Sakkyryyr Evens, and four are shared exclusively between Sakkyryyr Evens and Yakuts, demonstrating the considerable amount of admixture in the maternal line that has taken place between this Even subgroup and the Yakuts. [...] the central position played by the Yakuts, who share haplotypes with Evenks, Evens, Yukaghirs, and even Nivkh and Udegey."

Brigitte Pakendorf, Innokentij N. Novgorodov, Vladimir L. Osakovskij, Al'bina P. Danilova, Artur P. Protod'jakonov, and Mark Stoneking. "Investigating the effects of prehistoric migrations in Siberia: genetic variation and the origins of Yakuts." Human Genetics 120:3 (October 2006): pages 334-353. First published electronically on July 15, 2006.

Excerpts from the Abstract:

"[...] The mtDNA results show a very close affinity of the Yakuts with Central Asian and South Siberian groups, which confirms their southern origin. [...] The Y-chromosomal results confirm previous findings of a very strong bottleneck in the Yakuts, the age of which is in good accordance with the hypothesis that the Yakuts migrated north under Mongol pressure. [...]"

V. N. Khar'kov, V. A. Stepanov, O. F. Medvedev, M. G. Spiridonova, N. R. Maksimova, A. N. Nogovitsyna, and V. P. Puzyrev. "[The origin of Yakuts: analysis of Y-chromosome haplotypes]." (in Russian) Molekulyarnaya Biologiya 42:2 (March-April 2008): pages 226-237.

Sardana A. Fedorova, Marina A. Bermisheva, Richard Villems, Nadezda R. Maksimova, and Elza K. Khusnutdinova. "Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in Yakuts." Molecular Biology 37:4 (July 2003): pages 544-553. Translated from the Russian edition of the article that was published in Molekulyarnaya Biologiya 37:4 (2003) on pages 643-653.

V. P. Puzyrev, V. A. Stepanov, M. V. Golubenko, K. V. Puzyrev, Nadezda R. Maksimova, V. N. Khar'kov, M. G. Spiridonova, and A. N. Nogovitsyna. "[MtDNA and Y-chromosome lineages in the Yakut population]." (in Russian) Genetika 39:7 (July 2003): pages 975-981.


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