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Ancient Genomes Reveal Yamnaya-Related Ancestry and a Potential Source of Indo-European Speakers in Iron Age Tianshan

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Ning,  Chao
Eurasia3angle, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Wang,  Chuan-Chao
Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Robbeets,  Martine
Eurasia3angle, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Krause,  Johannes
MHAAM, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Ning, C., Wang, C.-C., Gao, S., Yang, Y., Zhang, X., Wu, X., et al.(2019). Ancient Genomes Reveal Yamnaya-Related Ancestry and a Potential Source of Indo-European Speakers in Iron Age Tianshan (shh2307). doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.044.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-5975-5
Abstract
Summary Recent studies of early Bronze Age human genomes revealed a massive population expansion by individuals-related to the Yamnaya culture, from the Pontic Caspian steppe into Western and Eastern Eurasia, likely accompanied by the spread of Indo-European languages [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The south eastern extent of this migration is currently not known. Modern-day human populations from the Xinjiang region in northwestern China show a complex population history, with genetic links to both Eastern and Western Eurasia [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. However, due to the lack of ancient genomic data, it remains unclear which source populations contributed to the Xinjiang population and what was the timing and the number of admixture events. Here, we report the first genome-wide data of 10 ancient individuals from northeastern Xinjiang. They are dated to around 2,200 years ago and were found at the Iron Age Shirenzigou site. We find them to be already genetically admixed between Eastern and Western Eurasians. We also find that the majority of the East Eurasian ancestry in the Shirenzigou individuals is-related to northeastern Asian populations, while the West Eurasian ancestry is best presented by ∼20 to 80 Yamnaya-like ancestry. Our data thus suggest a Western Eurasian steppe origin for at least part of the ancient Xinjiang population. Our findings furthermore support a Yamnaya-related origin for the now extinct Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, in southern Xinjiang.